Feature Article - June 2010
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A Look at Trends in Schools and School Districts

School Construction

Respondents from schools and school districts this year were more likely than 2009 respondents to report that they had plans for construction over the next three years. Last year, less than half (49.5 percent) said they had plans in place. This year, that number rose to 55.4 percent. (See Figure 50.) Those who were planning construction were less likely, however, to be planning new buildings. Last year, 23.6 percent of school respondents were planning to build new, compared with 18.2 percent this year. They were more likely to be planning additions (26.4 percent this year, vs. 23.6 percent last year) or renovations (39 percent this year vs. 36.5 percent last year).

In addition, school respondents were planning to spend less on construction in the next few years. Among those who do have plans to build, the average amount planned for construction was $7,426,000—2.5 percent lower than last year.

The features included in school respondents' facilities are what one might expect from schools. The 10 most common features among these respondents were:

  1. Bleachers and seating (included by 91.7 percent of those who reported having features of any kind)
  2. Locker rooms (87.6 percent)
  3. Indoor sports courts (83 percent)
  4. Concession areas (79.8 percent)
  5. Natural turf sports fields (78.4 percent)
  6. Outdoor running tracks (75.7 percent)
  7. Outdoor sports courts (67 percent)
  8. Fitness centers (63.3 percent)
  9. Playgrounds (62.8 percent)
  10. Open spaces, like gardens and natural areas (31.2 percent)

Just under one-third (31.1 percent) of schools respondents indicated that they were planning to add additional features to their facilities over the next three years. Among these respondents, the most common features planned for addition include: fitness centers (34.2 percent of those planning to add features are planning to add fitness centers); bleachers and seating (32.9 percent); synthetic turf sports fields (31.5 percent); outdoor running tracks (24.7 percent); playgrounds (23.3 percent); locker rooms (23.3 percent); concession areas (21.9 percent); exercise studios (20.5 percent); natural turf sports fields (17.8 percent); and outdoor and indoor sports courts (13.7 percent).

About Schools Respondents

Respondents from schools and school districts differed significantly in many ways from the trends among the general survey population. A much larger proportion of school respondents were from the Midwest, and from rural communities. In fact, nearly half (48.1 percent) of schools respondents reported in from the Midwest. They were far less likely to be from the South Central states (18 percent); the Northeast (14.6 percent); the West (12.9 percent); or the South Atlantic (6.4 percent). Likewise, a greater number of schools respondents were from rural communities—46.4 percent. Just over a third (36.5 percent) were from suburban communities, and less than a fifth (17.2 percent) were from urban areas.