Feature Article - June 2013
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Schools & School Districts

A Look at Trends in Schools & School Districts

School Facilities

School respondents report largely stable numbers of people utilizing their facilities over the course of the survey. More than half (53.8 percent) said the number of people using their facilities had remained the same from 2011 to 2012. Nearly half (49.8 percent) predict the same for 2013, and more than half (54.2 percent) expect steady numbers in 2014. (See Figure 48.)

School respondents were much less likely than most respondents to report an increase in usage at their facilities for every year covered by the survey. While 52.7 percent of all respondents said usage had increased from 2011 to 2012, just 38 percent of schools said the same. Likewise, 54.4 percent of all respondents saw increasing usage in 2013, compared with just 42.6 percent of schools.

There was virtually no change from 2012 to 2013 in the percentage of school respondents who indicated that they have plans for construction. While 46.2 percent of 2012 respondents reported that they were planning for construction over the next several years, 46.3 percent of school respondents in 2013 said the same. That said, school respondents in 2013 are more likely to be planning new construction than school respondents in 2012. In 2012, 17.9 percent of school respondents planned to build new. In 2013, that number increased to 23.1 percent. (See Figure 49.)

School respondents in 2013 are much less likely to be planning construction than non-school respondents. While 63.9 percent of non-schools respondents have plans to build over the next three years, just 53.7 percent of schools respondents have such plans.

The amount schools plan to spend on construction has been falling for the past several years, ultimately dropping 25.6 percent from an average of $6,671,000 in 2011 to an average of $4,963,000 in 2013. This brings school construction spending closer to the average across the board. While school respondents in 2011 were planning to spend 69.2 percent more than the across-the-board average, by 2013, the difference has fallen to 19.9 percent.

There was very little change in the features and amenities commonly found at school respondents' facilities from 2012 to 2013. Some features changed position on the list, but the top 10 remains the same. The features most commonly found include: locker rooms; bleachers and seating; indoor sports courts for sports such as basketball and volleyball; concession areas; natural turf sports fields for sports like baseball and football; outdoor running tracks; classrooms and meeting rooms; fitness centers; outdoor sports courts for sports such as tennis and basketball; and playgrounds.

This year's survey saw a further decrease in the percentage of school respondents who indicate that they have plans to add features at their facilities. That number has fallen from 32.9 percent in 2011, to 29.7 percent in 2012, and 24.8 percent in 2013. This compares to 40.5 percent of non-schools respondents in 2013 who have plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years.

The most commonly planned additions include:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (41.7 percent of those with plans to make additions)
  2. Bleachers and seating (31.7 percent)
  3. Outdoor running track (23.3 percent)
  4. Locker rooms (18.3 percent)
  5. Concession areas (15 percent)
  6. Classrooms and meeting rooms (13.3 percent)
  7. Indoor sports courts (11.7 percent)
  8. Fitness centers (10 percent)
  9. Exercise studio rooms (10 percent)
  10. Natural turf sports fields (10 percent)

Some features actually saw an increase in the number of respondents with plans to add them. This includes synthetic turf fields (up from 41.3 percent in 2012, and 37.5 percent in 2011); bleachers and seating (up from 28.6 percent in 2012); outdoor running tracks (up from 9.5 percent); locker rooms (up from 14.3 percent); concession areas (up from 12.7 percent); and exercise studio rooms (up from 9.5 percent). Natural turf sports fields and indoor sports courts did not appear among the top 10 in 2012. These two features replaced playgrounds and outdoor sports courts on the list.