Feature Article - June 2007
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Campus Recreation

Fantastic Facilities

When it comes to trends in recreation facilities, one that Freedman has noticed is a trend toward more openness.

"Newer facilities tend to be more visually open," she said. "You can see one area from another. If you're working on a cardio machine, you can see squash courts, or on the running track you can see lots of different areas as you're running around."

The most common amenities currently included in college and university facilities we surveyed included locker rooms, fitness centers and indoor sport courts for games like basketball and volleyball, as well as racquet sports. More than 80 percent of respondents included these amenities as part of their facilities. Approximately two-thirds of respondents from colleges and universities also included bleachers and seating, natural turf sports fields and outdoor sport courts for games like tennis and basketball. More than 50 percent included running tracks and indoor aquatic facilities.

Though they weren't among the most common amenities listed, colleges and universities were at least 10 percent more likely than the average survey respondent to include synthetic turf sports fields, which were included in 31.3 percent of their facilities, as well as climbing walls, included in 28 percent of facilities.

The top 10 amenities colleges and universities are planning to add to their facilities in the next three years include:

  • Synthetic turf sports fields
  • Locker rooms
  • Fitness center
  • Climbing wall
  • Running track
  • Indoor sport courts
  • Concession areas
  • Bleachers and seating
  • Outdoor sports courts
  • Natural turf sports fields

Things like climbing walls and squash courts tend to be more regionally and culturally focused, according to Freedman. "There are some schools where squash courts are more popular," she said. "Same thing with climbing walls. There's no consistent choice to definitely put one of those in."

The list is headed off with synthetic turf sports fields, and Blumenthal agreed that more and more of these fields are appearing on college campuses.

"Where there's money available or they make the case, you're seeing more of them," he explained. "I think that demand for team or group intramural sports events is rising. I've heard that across the board, that intramural activities are expanding once again, and the usage of the fields and field time has become an incredible premium. So synthetics are a way they can get greater mileage and more use during the day, and they're less subject to climatic conditions."