Feature Article - June 2015
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

Synthetic turf sports fields continue to hold the No. 1 position, with another slight increase to the percentage of college respondents who have plans to add them at their facilities. That number has grown from 27.1 percent in 2013 to 33.6 percent in 2015. There were also increases in the percentage of college respondents who are planning to add: locker rooms (up 1.8 percent); and classrooms and meeting rooms (up 0.5 percent). The top planned features in 2015 that did not appear in the top 10 planned features for 2014 include bleachers and seating; natural turf sports fields; fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment; and outdoor tracks. These items replace indoor sports courts, indoor running tracks, outdoor sports courts, and climbing walls.


Once again, fitness programs are the most popular type of program currently offered among college respondents' facilities. Some 81.4 percent of college respondents said they currently offer fitness programs, up from 78.9 percent in 2014. More than half of college respondents also provide: mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (61.1 percent); educational programs (55.6 percent); sports tournaments and races (53.4 percent); adult sports teams (53.1 percent); and personal training (50.2 percent). Other common programs among college respondents include: swimming programs (48.9 percent); individual sports activities such as running clubs or swim clubs (45.3 percent); aquatic exercise programs (41.8 percent); and holidays and other special events (39.2 percent).

In addition to fitness, other programming options that were offered by more college respondents in 2015 than 2014 include: sports tournaments and races (up 7.1 percent); adult sports teams (up 5.7 percent); swimming programs (up 4.5 percent); educational programs and personal training (both up 2.8 percent); and aquatic exercise (up 2.5 percent).

College respondents were less likely than non-college respondents to report that they had plans to add programming options at their facilities over the next three years. While 33.5 percent of non-college respondents have such plans, just 23.9 percent of college respondents said they would be adding programs. That said, this is an increase from 2014, when just 19 percent of college respondents had plans to add programs.

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

  1. Nutrition and diet counseling (up from No. 3)
  2. Day camps and summer camps (up from No. 5)
  3. Fitness programs (down from No. 1)
  4. Adult sports teams (did not appear in 2014)
  5. Personal training (down from No. 2)
  6. Mind-body/balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (down from No. 4)
  7. Aquatic exercise programs (up from No. 10)
  8. Swimming programs (did not appear in 2014)
  9. Educational programs (down from No. 6)
  10. Individual sports activities (did not appear in 2014)

Programs in the top 10 for 2014 that do not appear in 2015 include sports tournaments and races; water sports such as kayaking and canoeing; and sport-specific training such as golf and tennis lessons.