Feature Article - June 2016
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Colleges & Universities

A Look at Trends in Colleges & Universities

The most commonly planned features for college respondents in 2016 include:
  1. Synthetic turf sports fields (planned by 33.7 percent of those who intend to add features at their facilities)
  2. Fitness centers (23.3 percent)
  3. Locker rooms (22.1 percent)
  4. Bleachers and seating (18.6 percent)
  5. Outdoor courts for sports like basketball and tennis (17.4 percent)
  6. Fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (16.3 percent)
  7. Exercise studios (16.3 percent)
  8. Wi-Fi services (14 percent)
  9. Concessions (12.8 percent)
  10. Indoor running/walking tracks (12.8 percent)

Synthetic turf sports fields continue to hold the top position, and the number of college respondents who plan to add them has actually increased, from 27.1 percent in 2013 to 33.7 percent in 2016). There were also increases in the percentage of college respondents planning to add fitness centers (up 8.5 percent from 2015 to 2016), fitness trails and outdoor fitness equipment (up 2.4 percent), and exercise studios (up 1.5 percent). Commonly planned features in 2016 that did not appear on this list in 2015 include: outdoor courts for sports like basketball and tennis, Wi-Fi services, and indoor running or walking tracks. They replace natural turf sports fields, outdoor tracks, and classrooms and meeting rooms.


Some 96.6 percent of college respondents said they offer programming at their facilities. This compares with 94.8 percent of non-college respondents. Fitness programs continue to be the most commonly offered program among college respondents. Some 83.5 percent of college respondents said they provide fitness programs, up from 81.4 percent in 2015. More than half of college respondents provide: mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (66.2 percent); educational programs (60.8 percent); adults sports teams (54 percent); personal training (52.7 percent); and sports tournaments and races (51.9 percent). Other commonly offered programs among college respondents include: swimming programs (46.4 percent); aquatic exercise (42.2 percent); day camps and summer camps (41.8 percent); and holidays and special events (33.8 percent).

In addition to fitness, other programming offerings that were provided by more college respondents in 2016 than 2015 include: educational programs (up 5.2 percent); mind-body balance programs (up 5.1 percent); personal training (up 2.5 percent); adult sports teams (up 0.9 percent); and aquatic exercise programs (up 0.4 percent).

College respondents were less likely than non-college respondents to report that they had plans to add programming at their facilities. While 31.8 percent of non-college respondents had such plans, just 24.9 percent of college respondents said they were planning to add programs at their facilities. This is a slight increase from last year, when 23.9 percent of college respondents had such plans.

The top 10 planned programs for college and university respondents include:

  1. Fitness programs (up from No. 3 in 2015)
  2. Mind-body balance programs such as yoga and tai chi (up from No. 6)
  3. Swimming programs (up from No. 8)
  4. Personal training (up from No. 5)
  5. Aquatic exercise programs (up from No. 7)
  6. Educational programs (up from No. 9)
  7. Sports tournaments and races (did not appear in 2015)
  8. Adult sports teams (down from No. 4)
  9. Day camps and summer camps (down from No. 2)
  10. Individual sports activities (no change from 2015)

Sports tournaments and races is the only program that did not appear among the top 10 in 2015. It replaces nutrition and diet counseling, which held the No. 1 spot last year.