Feature Article - May 2014
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Flexible Facilities

Trends in Multipurpose Facility Design

By Deborah L. Vence


Collegiate Recreation Centers

At the college level, collegiate weight rooms continue to grow in size to meet multiple campus needs, with recreational weights and cardio for students, faculty and staff, health and kinesiology classes, and personal training.

"An emphasis on personal training has led to the introduction of dedicated areas in the weight room complex for one-on-one or one-on-two instruction," Houston said. "Personal training rooms and areas tend to be subsets of the weight room, having some free weights, pin-select weight equipment and cardio equipment for ease of movement from one activity to the other and to reduce wait time for equipment."

Furthermore, what's called Movement Areas are being incorporated into the weight room and the personal training areas as well.

"They typically contain a specialized flooring—turf, wood, synthetic wood—to accommodate large motor skill agility movement combined with specialized strength and conditioning tasks. Fitballs, elastic band apparatus (wall or ceiling mounted) and kettlebell weights are used in the Movement Area to facilitate this combined workout activity," he added.

In aquatics, the emphasis on lap swimming for recreation and health continues to grow, too.

"With proper depths and apparatus that are designed into the pool tank and the adjacent support spaces, the pools also become revenue generation opportunities for pool parties and fee-based classes and activities," he said. "These same multipurpose facilities serve intramurals, "Battleship" games, kayak classes and water aerobics."

More structured outdoor spaces for recreation activities in yoga, Pilates or aerobics, are popular. "Spaces that are part of the recreation complex, but which have some separation to control public access allow for group activities to be instructed in a more natural setting," Houston said.

"Group exercise spaces can incorporate the right features—resilient floors, mirrored walls, adjacent storage for mobile exercise devices, audio-visual systems for instruction," he added, "but these same rooms can be event spaces, utilizing the same A/V systems, as well with balconies to view other outdoor or sports activities."