Feature Article - June 2009
Find a printable version here


A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

These represent substantial increases from last year's survey, when fewer respondents from colleges and universities expected to see increasing usage of their facilities. For example, last year, just 42.8 percent of respondents said they expected usage at their facilities to increase from 2007 to 2008, a difference of nearly 22 percent.

College and university respondents were also the least likely to be expecting a decrease in the number of people using their facilities between 2007 and 2010. Just over 1 percent reported a decrease in 2008, and less than 10 percent are expecting a decrease from 2008 to 2009 (5.3 percent) and 2009 to 2010 (3.7 percent). Compare that with YMCAs, where 17.5 percent reported a decrease in 2008, and nearly 13 percent expect a decrease in 2009.

While respondents from colleges and universities were less likely than average to see an increase in revenues from 2007 to 2008, and were less likely to be expecting an increase between 2008 and 2010, they were also less likely to be expecting a drop in revenues. This indicates a greater level of stability in revenues for these types of facilities, which may help explain why they were also less likely to report a high degree of concern with the current economy.

Synthetic Turf Is Tough

Synthetic turf continues to rise in popularity. This year, it is the most commonly planned addition among colleges and universities, and the second most common among schools and school districts.

While 26 percent of college respondents and 21.5 percent of school respondents indicate they currently include synthetic turf sports fields, 11.4 percent of colleges and 10.7 percent of schools plan to add them in the next three years.

Synthetic turf offers these facilities to increase programming on their fields, and is especially beneficial to those in climates where water resources and space for fields are limited.