Feature Article - June 2012
Find a printable version here

Schools & School Districts

A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts

Building Plans

Schools respondents were more likely to have plans for construction, whether new facilities, additions or renovations, in the 2012 survey, compared with 2010. While 53.7 percent of school respondents in 2011 said they had no current construction plans, this year that number fell to 46.2 percent. Renovations are by far the most common plan, with more than one-third (35.8 percent) of schools respondents reporting they have renovation plans in the works. Another 22.6 percent said they will be adding to existing facilities, and 17.9 percent intend to build new facilities. (See Figure 49.)

While respondents from schools and school districts plan to spend 32.7 percent more than respondents from all facility types, construction budgets for schools have been falling over the past three years. Schools respondents in 2012 reported that they plan to spend an average of $5,607,000 on construction over the next three years. This is down 15.9 percent from 2011, when schools planned to spend $6,671,000 on construction, and it is down 29.2 percent from the average construction budget reported in 2010.

There was no change in the features and amenities most commonly found at schools respondents' facilities in 2012. The features most commonly found include: locker rooms; indoor sports courts for sports such as basketball, volleyball, etc.; bleachers and seating; concession areas; natural turf sports fields for sports such as football, soccer and baseball; classrooms and meeting rooms; outdoor running tracks; outdoor sports courts for sports such as basketball and tennis; fitness centers; and playgrounds.

As might be expected, given the continuing fiscal struggles at schools and school districts across the country, respondents from schools were less likely than others to have plans to add features and amenities at their facilities. Less than one-third (29.7 percent) of schools respondents said they had such plans, down from 32.9 percent last year. The most common features they planned to add included:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (41.3 percent of those with plans to make additions)
  2. Bleachers and seating (28.6 percent)
  3. Playgrounds (15.9 percent)
  4. Fitness centers (15.9 percent)
  5. Classrooms and meeting rooms (15.9 percent)
  6. Locker rooms (14.3 percent)
  7. Outdoor sports courts (12.7 percent)
  8. Concession areas (12.7 percent)
  9. Outdoor running tracks (9.5 percent)
  10. Exercise studio rooms (9.5 percent)

Most areas show a significant decrease in the number of respondents who plan to add them. The exception is synthetic turf sports fields, which saw an increase from 37.5 percent of schools respondents with plans to add synthetic turf in 2011 to 41.3 percent in 2012.


Once again, youth sports teams were the most common type of program found at schools respondents' facilities. Some 78 percent said they currently have youth sports teams (though this is down from 84 percent in the 2011 survey). Other common programs among school respondents include: educational programs (71.5 percent); sports tournaments and races (57.5 percent); fitness programs (52.5 percent); individual sports activities (45.5 percent); sport-specific training (42.5 percent); holiday events and other special events (42 percent); performing arts, such as dance, theater and music (40.5 percent); swimming (37 percent); special needs programs (36 percent); and day camps and summer camps (35 percent). Programs that saw an increase from 2011 include educational programs (up from 70.2 percent); sports tournaments and races (up from 56.5 percent); individual sports activities (up from 41.2 percent); sport-specific training (up from 38.2 percent); and holiday events (up from 35.9 percent).

Just 12.3 percent of school respondents said they had plans to add more programs at their facilities over the next three years, down from 16.8 percent in 2011. Their top planned programs include:

  1. Fitness programs (showing no change from last year's survey)
  2. Educational programs (no change)
  3. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga, tai chi, Pilates and martial arts (did not appear on the top 10 programs for schools in 2011)
  4. Programs for active older adults (did not appear in 2011)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (did not appear in 2011)
  6. Swimming programs (up from No. 9)
  7. Sports tournaments and races (down from No. 3)
  8. Individual sports activities (down from No. 5)
  9. Day camps and summer camps (did not appear in 2011)
  10. Holiday events and other special events (down from No. 6)

While the top two programs remain the same from 2011, there are many programs in the top 10 planned for the next three years that did not appear on this list in 2011. They include mind-body/balance programs, programs for active older adults, aquatic exercise programs, and day camps and summer camps.