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Web Exclusive - June 2017

Community Centers

A Look at Trends in Community Centers


Some 7.4 percent of respondents to the Industry Report survey were from community or private recreation and sports centers. More than half (54.7 percent) of these community center respondents were with public organizations. Another 25.8 percent were with private nonprofits, 18 percent were with private for-profit organizations, and 1.6 percent were with some other type of organization.

Community center respondents were most likely to be from the Midwest. Nearly one-third (33.1 percent) of these respondents said they were from that region. They were followed by the West (21.3 percent), the South Atlantic (19.7 percent), the South Central region (16.5 percent), and the Northeast (6.3 percent). Another 3.1 percent of community center respondents said they were from outside the United States.

Some 44.9 percent of community center respondents were from suburban communities. Another 31.5 percent were from urban areas, and 23.6 percent said they were from rural communities.

On average, community center respondents said they reach a population of 71,200 people. Some 27.3 percent reported that the population they reached was less than 20,000, while 16.4 percent said they served a population of 100,000 or more.

More than half (50.4 percent) of community center respondents said that the primary audience served by their facilities was all ages. Another 22 percent said they serve adults ages 19 to 64 as their primary audience. Smaller numbers served an audience of children ages 4 to 12 (19.7 percent), teens (3.9 percent), college students (1.6 percent), seniors (1.6 percent), and infants and toddlers (0.8 percent).

The majority (80.5 percent) of community center respondents said that they had formed partnerships with other organizations, down from 86.7 percent in 2016. The most common partners were local schools (59.4 percent of community center respondents had partnered with them); local government (51.6 percent), nonprofit organizations (48.4 percent), colleges and universities (28.1 percent) and corporate or local businesses (28.1 percent).

Revenues & Expenditures

While 49.2 percent of community center respondents said their revenues had increased from 2015 to 2016, some 59.7 percent said they expect revenues to increase from 2016 to 2017. Looking forward, 56 percent projected that revenues would increase from 2017 to 2018.

Community center respondents reported a 2.2 percent increase in operating expenditures this year, from $1,162,000 in fiscal 2015 to $1,187,000 in fiscal 2016. Looking forward, these respondents projected a 1.3 percent decrease to their operating expenditures over the next two years, to an average of $1,172,000. On average, community center respondents said they recover 59.9 percent of their operating costs via revenue, up from 55.6 percent in 2016.

Some 80.8 percent of community center respondents said they had taken action to reduce their operating expenditures over the past year, down from 84 percent in 2016. The most common actions taken include: increasing fees (48.8 percent of community center respondents had done so), improving energy efficiency (48 percent), and reducing staff (32 percent).

Community Center Facilities

Some 62.5 percent of community center respondents said they had plans for construction over the next three years, down from 2016, when 68.1 percent had such plans. Some 18 percent said they are planning to build new facilities, while 25.8 percent are planning additions, and 41.4 percent are planning renovations. They are planning to spend an average of $2,793,000 on their construction plans, up 29.3 percent from 2016's average of $2,160,000.

Some 39.8 percent of community center respondents said they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years, down from 2016, when 41.6 percent had such plans.

The 10 most commonly planned features include: splash play areas, climbing walls, fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment, Wi-Fi services, exercise studios, challenge courses and ropes courses, playgrounds, indoor sports courts, dog parks, and bike trails.

Programming

The 10 most common programming types currently found among community center respondents include: holidays and other special events, fitness programs, day camps and summer camps, youth sports teams, mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi, programs for active older adults, educational programs, arts and crafts, sports tournaments and races, and adult sports teams.

Respondents from community centers were more likely than most others to report that they had plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years. Some 41.4 percent of community center respondents said they had such plans, compared with 31.5 percent of non-community-center respondents.

The most commonly planned program additions include:

  1. Fitness programs (up from No. 2)
  2. Mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (up from No. 3).
  3. Teen programming (down from No. 1)
  4. Educational programs (no change from 2016)
  5. Active older adult programming (up from No. 9)
  6. Day camps and summer camps (up from No. 10)
  7. Individual sports activities (did not appear in 2016)
  8. Special needs programs (did not appear in 2016)
  9. Personal training (did not appear in 2016)
  10. Holidays and other special events (did not appear in 2016)
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