Feature Article - June 2017
Find a printable version here

State of the INDUSTRY

A Look at What's Happening in Recreation, Sports and Fitness Facilities

By Emily Tipping


Respondents from facilities that include aquatic elements were obviously much more likely to require lifeguard and aquatic management or pool operations certifications. While 58.2 percent of all respondents who require certification ask that some staff members achieve lifeguard certification, for those with aquatic elements, that number jumps to 87.3 percent. And while 34.8 percent of all respondents require aquatic management and pool operations certification, 55.8 percent of those with aquatic elements do so.

Just as they are the most likely to require certification at all, Ys were the most likely to require many specific types of certification. Y respondents were more likely than others to report that they require: CPR/AED/First Aid certification (100 percent); background checks (98.3 percent); lifeguard certification (86.6 percent); aquatic management and pool operations certification (63.9 percent); and childcare/early childhood education certification (58.8 percent).

Respondents from health clubs were more likely than others to require personal training or fitness certification (89 percent).

Respondents from camps were the most likely to require foodservice certifications (59.4 percent), and climbing certifications (40.6 percent).

Respondents from parks were the most likely to require pesticide application certification (40.2 percent), playground safety certification (36 percent), Certified Parks and Recreation Professional (CPRP) certification (17.6 percent), turf/grounds management certification (14.9 percent), and security or law enforcement certification (9 percent).

Respondents from schools were more likely than others to require coaching certification (67.6 percent) and teaching certification (60.1 percent).

Finally, respondents from colleges and universities were the most likely to require athletic trainer certification (31.9 percent).

Facilities & Construction Plans

Beginning in 2013, we have asked survey participants how old their main facility was. In that time, facilities have aged from an average of 27.5 years in 2013 to 33.1 years in 2017. Only 6 percent of respondents said their main facility was 5 years old or less. Another 8.8 percent said their facilities are between 6 and 10 years old. Nearly a quarter (23.7 percent) said their main facility is between 11 and 20 years old. Another 29.4 percent said their main facility is between 21 and 40 years old. Nearly one-third (32.1 percent) said their main facility is 41 years or older. And, more than half of those (16.5 percent of all respondents) said their main facility is at least 50 years old.

The newest facilities, on average, are found among health clubs, as well as colleges and universities. Respondents from health clubs said their main facility is 24.3 years old, on average, while college respondents' main facilities averaged 25.4 years. (See Figure 24.)


The oldest facilities are found among camp respondents, who said the average age of their main facility is 55.2 years. They were followed by Ys, with an average facility age of 39.8, and schools, which averaged 35.2 years.

Over the past five years, the percentage of respondents who indicate that they have plans for construction, whether new facilities or additions or renovations to their existing facilities, has grown steadily, from 62.7 percent in 2013 to 68.3 percent in 2017. In fact, this is the first time since the beginning of the recession that less than a third of respondents (31.7 percent) have said they have no immediate plans for construction. (See Figure 25.)