Feature Article - June 2008
Find a printable version here


Helping Build Healthy Communities

Facility Planning

YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs were slightly more likely than the average respondent to be planning construction over the next three years—72.8 percent said they had plans to build new, make additions or renovate their existing facilities within the next three years. The most common plans were for renovations, with 43.9 percent of respondents reporting they had such plans, followed by additions, at 31.6 percent. Another 27.2 percent of respondents from YMCAs and similar facilities said they had plans to build new facilities.

For those who do have plans in place, the average amount they are planning to spend on those facilities is $5,331,300, 21.2 percent higher than the general average.

Many respondents reported that they had a need to expand their facilities in order to meet their communities' needs.

One sports and program director from Kentucky said her top concern is "finding additional space to run programs because we are maxed out right now and hoping to add on within the next year."

Space limitations were a factor for many. One senior program executive from Illinois said budgets were a problem, adding, "We have grown out of this facility with no ADA accessibility or parking, etc., and should have expanded two years ago. We just got land to build a new YMCA and now have to raise $14 million in a bad economy, but we have to move."

And a fitness and recreation director from a JCC said his top issue was "creating more non-membership opportunities in our space limitations."

The top amenities currently included by the respondents from YMCAs, YWCAs and JCCs included the typical options that one might expect, allowing for participation in sports, fitness, aquatics and other activities. Nearly 90 percent of respondents indicated that their facilities included fitness centers and locker rooms, and more than 80 percent said they included exercise studios and indoor sports courts or gymnasiums. Nearly 80 percent also include classrooms and meeting rooms and more than 70 percent included an indoor aquatic facility. More than half also said they had a community or multipurpose center, playgrounds and bleachers or seating. Around a third also offered an indoor running track, a climbing wall and outdoor sport courts for games like basketball and tennis.

When it comes to adding to their facilities, an impressive 20.9 percent of respondents from YMCAs and similar facilities indicated that they planned to add a climbing wall within the next three years. Other innovations were planned for many facilities, including the addition of challenge courses, splash play areas and more.