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Feature Article - June 2017

State of the INDUSTRY

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


The number of respondents with plans to build new facilities grew this year, from 26.4 percent in 2015 to 28.6 percent in 2017. Likewise, the number who are planning additions increased, from 28.6 percent to 30.6 percent, and the number planning renovations also increased, from 47.6 percent to 49.3 percent.

Camp respondents were the most likely to report that they have plans for construction, which should come as no surprise, given that these respondents also have the oldest facilities, on average. More than eight out of 10 (84.2 percent) camp respondents said they have plans for construction. They were followed by parks (75.9 percent) and Ys (72.1 percent). Respondents from schools and colleges were the least likely to have construction plans in the works, though more than half in each case (55.2 percent and 57.4 percent, respectively) did have plans for construction.

Construction plans of all kinds were most commonly planned by camps. Some 41.2 percent of camp respondents were planning new facilities, while 43.9 percent are planning additions, and 63.2 percent are planning renovations.

On new construction, camps were followed by parks (35.7 percent of whom were planning to build new), Ys (30.3 percent), and colleges (21.8 percent). Health club respondents were the least likely to be planning new construction, with just 14.5 percent indicating they would be building new facilities.

When it comes to additions, camps were followed by Ys (36.9 percent of whom were planning additions), parks (34.9 percent), and colleges (26.4 percent). Respondents from health clubs were the least likely to be planning to build new, with just 17.1 percent indicating they had such plans.

After camps, renovations were most commonly planned by Ys (58.2 percent of whom were planning renovations) and parks (55.9 percent). Respondents from colleges were the least likely to be planning renovations, though 38 percent of these respondents said they had such plans.

After a decrease last year of 12.5 percent, the average amount respondents are planning to spend on construction rose again in 2017. On average, respondents are planning to spend $4,299,000 on their construction plans, an increase of 22.2 percent from 2016. (See Figure 26.) Since 2011, the average budget for construction plans has not steadily grown, but rather has been variable. However, it has increased, by 9.1 percent, from $3,942,000 in 2011.


From 2016 to 2017, respondents from Ys reported the greatest increase to their average construction budget. Among Y respondents, the average budget for construction grew 58.7 percent, to $5,170,000. Other respondents reporting an increase to their construction budgets included community recreation and sports centers (up 29.3 percent to an average $2,793,000), colleges and universities (up 29 percent to $7,786,000), parks and recreation (up 22 percent to $4,689,000), and schools and school districts (up 9.5 percent to $5,385,000).

Respondents from health clubs reported a substantial drop in their construction budgets, with the average falling 61.5 percent to $963,000. But it is important to note that numbers can be more volatile in this sector due to the smaller sample size. Respondents from camps also reported a drop in their average construction budget, which fell 22.4 percent to $819,000 in 2017.

The highest spending on construction is found among colleges and universities, followed by schools and school districts, and Ys. College respondents plan to spend 81.1 percent more than the average for all facility types, while schools will spend 25.3 percent more, and Ys will spend 20.3 percent more. Park respondents also have a higher average construction cost (by 9.1 percent) than the average for all facility types.

Respondents who plan to spend less than the average for all facility types are led by those from camps, who will spend 80.9 percent less. They were followed by health clubs (at 77.6 percent less than the average for all respondents), and community recreation and sports centers (at 35 percent less).

Public organizations saw the sharpest increase to their construction budgets from 2016 to 2017, with an increase of 28 percent, from $3,877,000 in 2016 to $4,962,000 in 2017. They were followed by private nonprofits, with a much smaller increase of 8.7 percent, from $3,227,000 in 2016 to $3,508,000 in 2017. Respondents from private for-profit facilities reported that their average planned budgets for construction would drop by 9 percent, from $1,863,000 in 2016 to $1,695,000 in 2017.

The top amenities included in respondents' facilities in 2017 include: classrooms and meeting rooms (59.4 percent); Wi-Fi services (59.3 percent); playgrounds (58.7 percent); bleachers and seating (58.6 percent); outdoor sports courts for basketball or tennis (57.1 percent); locker rooms (56.7 percent); open spaces including gardens and natural areas (55.4 percent); natural turf sports fields (54.3 percent); fitness centers (53 percent); and indoor sports courts (51.6 percent). (See Figure 27.)


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