Feature Article - June 2014
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A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

Colleges & Universities

College respondents were slightly less likely than others to report that they had plans to add more features at their facilities over the next three years. While 37.6 percent of all respondents had plans to add features, 32 percent of colleges had such plans. What's more, the number of college respondents who had plans to add features fell from 37.6 percent in 2013 to 32 percent in 2014.

Their most commonly planned features include:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields for sports like football, soccer and baseball (planned by 33.1 percent of those who intend to add features at their facilities)
  2. Exercise studio rooms (22.9 percent)
  3. Locker rooms (22 percent)
  4. Fitness centers (21.2 percent)
  5. Concession areas (16.9 percent)
  6. Indoor sports courts for sports like basketball and volleyball (16.1 percent)
  7. Indoor running tracks (15.3 percent)
  8. Outdoor sports courts (13.6 percent)
  9. Classrooms and meeting rooms (13.6 percent)
  10. Climbing walls (13.6 percent)

The greatest increase was seen in the number of college respondents who are planning to add synthetic turf sports fields, which jumped from 27.1 percent in 2013 to 33.1 percent in 2014. There were also increases in the number of college respondents planning to add exercise studio rooms (up 0.9 percent); locker rooms (up 0.8 percent) and indoor sports courts (up 0.8 percent). Concessions, indoor tracks and outdoor sports courts did not appear on the top 10 last year. They replace bleachers and challenge courses.


Fitness continues to hold its place as the No. 1 program found among college respondents' facilities. More than three-quarters (78.9 percent) of college respondents include fitness programming at their facilities. More than half of college respondents also provide: mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (64 percent) and educational programs (52.8 percent). Other programs commonly found among college respondents include: personal training (47.4 percent); adult sports teams (47.4 percent); sports tournaments and races (46.3 percent); individual sports activities such as running clubs or swim clubs (44.4 percent); swimming programs (44.4 percent); aquatic exercise programs (39.3 percent); and day camps and summer camps (36.9 percent).

Each of these programs was offered by a smaller percentage of college respondents in 2014 than in 2013.

College respondents were less likely than others to report that they had plans to add programs at their facilities over the next three years. While 30.3 percent of non-college respondents will be adding programs, just 19 percent of college respondents have such plans. This also is a drop from 2013, when 28 percent of college respondents had plans for new programs at their facilities.

The top 10 planned program additions for college and university respondents include:

  1. Fitness programs (up from No. 4)
  2. Personal training (up from No. 5)
  3. Nutrition and diet counseling (up from No. 6)
  4. Mind-body balance programs such as yoga, tai chi and Pilates (down from No. 1)
  5. Day camps and summer camps (down from No. 2)
  6. Educational programs (down from No. 3)
  7. Sports tournaments and races (no change from 2012)
  8. Water sports such as kayaking and canoeing (did not appear in 2012)
  9. Sport-specific training (down from No. 8)
  10. Aquatic exercise programs (down from No. 9)

Colleges and universities have increasingly turned their focus to wellness, and that may be reflected in the top four planned programs, three of which saw their position jump from 2012. Individual sports activities fell off the list this year, to be replaced, interestingly enough, by water sports such as kayaking and canoeing.