Feature Article - June 2015
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

College Facilities

Around half of college respondents said they had seen an increase in the number of people using their facilities from 2013 to 2014. Similar numbers report that they expect to see increases in 2015 and 2016. While 48.9 percent said usage of their facilities had grown from 2013 to 2014, 50.6 percent projected an increase in 2015, and 50.3 percent expect an increase in 2016. (See Figure 46.) Very few college respondents reported decreases in facility usage over that time period.

The number of college respondents who reported that they have plans for construction over the next three years fell slightly in 2015. While 60.4 percent of college respondents in 2014 reported that they had construction plans, some 58.7 percent of college respondents in 2015 have plans. (See Figure 47.) The percentage who are planning new construction, as well as those planning renovations fell slightly from 2014 to 2015, while the number who are planning additions to their existing facilities increased. Some 38.5 percent of college respondents said they had plans to renovate (down from 40.9 percent in 2014), and 24.8 percent said they planned to build new facilities (down from 30.6 percent). Some 29.2 percent said they had plans for additions, up from 26 percent in 2014.

Despite the fact that they are less likely to be planning construction, college respondents are still the biggest spenders when it comes to their construction plans. Those with construction plans plan to spend 93.2 percent more than the average for all respondents. College respondents said they would spend, on average, $7,775,000 on their construction plans. This is a decrease of 15.8 percent from the average reported by college respondents in 2014, but is more in line with numbers reported in previous years, which hovered near $8 million in 2013.

There was very little change in the past year in the types of features most commonly found among college respondents' facilities. The top 10 features currently included are: locker rooms; fitness centers; indoor sports courts such as basketball, volleyball or racquetball courts; bleachers and seating; exercise studio rooms; classrooms and meeting rooms; natural turf sports fields such as soccer or football fields; outdoor sports courts; indoor tracks; and Wi-Fi services.

College respondents were less likely than others to report that they had plans to add features at their facilities over the next three years. While 49.5 percent of non-college respondents had such plans, 37.9 percent of college respondents said they would be adding features. That said, this is an increase from 2014, when just 32 percent of college respondents said they would be adding features at their facilities.

The most commonly planned feature additions in 2015 include:

  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (planned by 33.6 percent of those who intend to add features at their facilities)
  2. Locker rooms (23.8 percent)
  3. Bleachers and seating (18.9 percent)
  4. Natural turf sports fields (15.6 percent)
  5. Fitness centers (14.8 percent)
  6. Concession areas (14.8 percent)
  7. Exercise studios (14.8 percent)
  8. Fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (13.9 percent)
  9. Outdoor tracks (13.9 percent)
  10. Classrooms and meeting rooms (13.1 percent)