Feature Article - June 2012
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

Building Plans

As mentioned previously, colleges and universities that are building recreation and sports facilities anecdotally seem to be focusing more on renovation in recent years. Comparing construction planning data from this year's survey with past years would seem to bear this out.

The percentage of college respondents who have plans for construction of any kind fell from 57.8 percent in 2009 to 53.6 percent in 2011. This year's survey saw a slight increase in the percentage of college respondents who are planning construction of any kind, with 54.6 percent indicating they have plans. Following a similar track, the number of college respondents planning new facilities fell from 25 percent in 2009 to 22 percent in 2011, before showing slight recovery again this year, to 23.6 percent. At the same time, the number planning renovations has increased from 35.1 percent in 2009 to 35.9 percent in 2011, and 36.9 percent this year. (See Figure 46.)

While the amount budgeted for construction saw a slight increase for all survey respondents in 2012, after falling for the past couple of years, college and university respondents reported another slight drop from 2011. In 2011, college and university respondents planned to spend $7,681,000 on their construction plans. This year, that number fell by 1 percent to $7,605,000 at the same time that the amount planned by the general survey population increased by 7.2 percent. That said, colleges and universities plan to spend 80 percent more on their construction plans than the general survey population, which reports an average construction budget of $4,225,000.

There were only slight changes in the features included at college respondents' facilities in 2012 compared to 2011. The top 10 features and amenities currently found in their facilities include: locker rooms; indoor sports courts for sports such as basketball, volleyball, etc.; fitness centers; bleachers and seating; classrooms and meeting rooms; natural turf sports fields for sports such as football, soccer, baseball, etc.; exercise studio rooms; outdoor sports courts for sports like basketball and tennis; concession areas; and indoor running tracks. Concession areas rose this year to take the place of indoor aquatic facilities, which were among the top 10 included amenities in 2011.

More than a third (36.4 percent) of college respondents reported that they plan to add features and amenities at their facilities over the next three years. Their most commonly planned additions include:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (planned by 35.9 percent of those who intend to add features and amenities)
  2. Locker rooms (22.5 percent)
  3. Climbing walls (20.4 percent)
  4. Fitness center (19.7 percent)
  5. Bleachers and seating (19 percent)
  6. Classrooms and meeting rooms (17.6 percent)
  7. Natural turf sports fields (16.2 percent)
  8. Exercise studio rooms (14.8 percent)
  9. Concessions (14.1 percent)
  10. Outdoor sports courts; disc golf course; and park structures (all planned by 12.7 percent)