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Web Exclusive - June 2018

Community Centers

A Look at Trends in Community Centers


Some 6.7 percent of respondents to the Industry Report survey were from community or private recreation and sports centers. More than half (51.4 percent) of these community center respondents are with public organizations. Another 29 percent are with private nonprofits, 11.2 percent are with private for-profit organizations, and 7.5 percent are with some other type of organization.

Community center respondents are most likely to be from the Midwest. Some 31.8 percent of these respondents said they are from this region. They were followed by the West (27.1 percent), the Northeast (18.7 percent), the South Central region (12.1 percent) and the South Atlantic states (10.3 percent).

Some 43.9 percent of community center respondents are from suburban communities. Another 34.6 percent are from rural areas, and 21.5 percent said they are located in urban communities.

On average, community center respondents said they reach a population of 68,580 people. Some 43.9 percent reported that they reach a population of less than 20,000, while 13 percent serve a population of 100,000 or more.

Nearly half (48.1 percent) of community center respondents said that the primary audience served by their facilities is all ages. Another 23.6 percent said they mainly reach children ages 4 to 12. Smaller numbers said their primary audience is adults (15.1 percent); teens (5.7 percent); seniors (4.7 percent); infants and toddlers (1.9 percent); or college students (0.9 percent).

The majority (85.8 percent) of community center respondents said that they have partnered with other organizations, up from 80.5 percent in 2017. Their most common partners were local schools (62.3 percent of community center respondents have partnered with schools); nonprofit organizations (49.1 percent); local government (46.2 percent); corporate or local businesses (32.1 percent); and healthcare or medical facilities (22.6 percent).

Revenues & Expenditures

Some 47.6 percent of community center respondents said their revenues increased from 2016 to 2017, while 10.5 percent reported a decrease. From 2017 to 2018, 49.5 percent said they expect revenues to increase, while 11.4 percent projected a decrease. And from 2018 to 2019, 52.1 percent of community center respondents are expecting their revenues to increase, while 4.9 percent expect a decrease.

Community center respondents reported a 10.3 percent increase to operating expenditures from 2016 to 2017, from $1,187,000 to $1,310,000. Looking forward, they project a further 7.6 percent increase to operating expenses by 2019, to an average of $1,410,000.

On average, community center respondents said they recover 57.4 percent of their operating costs via revenue, down slightly from 59.9 percent in 2017.

Some 87.5 percent of community center respondents said they have taken action to reduce their operating costs over the past year, up from 80.8 percent in 2017. The most common actions taken include: increasing fees (53.8 percent off community center respondents had done so); improving energy efficiency (50 percent); and reducing staff (28.8 percent).

Community Center Facilities

Some 68.2 percent of community center respondents said they have plans for construction over the next three years, up from 62.5 percent in 2017. Some 15 percent said they are planning to build new facilities, while 29.9 percent will be making additions to existing facilities and 45.8 percent are planning renovations. They are planning to spend an average of $3,040,000, up 8.8 percent from 2017, when community center respondents planned to spend an average of $2,793,000 on their construction plans.

Some 42.1 percent of community center respondents said they have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years, up from 39.8 percent in 2017.

The 10 most commonly planned features include: splash play areas; exercise studios; outdoor sports courts; fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment; climbing walls; fitness centers; playgrounds; synthetic turf sports fields; walking and hiking trails, and park shelters.

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