Feature Article - June 2019
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2019 State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping


The average amount respondents are planning to spend on construction increased by 18.4 percent in 2019. On average, respondents are planning to spend $5,080,000 on construction. (See Figure 28.) Since 2011, the average budget for construction has been variable, but has gradually increased by 28.9 percent, from an average of $3,942,000.

From 2018 to 2019, respondents from rec centers and camps reported the greatest increase to their average construction budgets. Among respondents from rec centers, the average budget for construction grew 59.5 percent, from $3,040,000 to $4,850,000. They were followed by camps, with a 55.6 percent increase, from $990,000 to $1,540,000; and Ys, with a 38.6 percent increase, from $3,760,000 to $5,210,000. More modest increases were reported by parks (up 17.7 percent, from $4,360,000 to $5,130,000) and health clubs (up 15.3 percent, from $3,010,000 to $3,470,000).

Respondents from colleges reported a decrease of 20.4 percent to their average construction budget, from $9,500,000 in 2018 to $7,560,000 in 2019. Schools also reported a drop, with construction budgets falling 9.7 percent, from $6,360,000 in 2018 to $5,740,000 in 2019. That said, the highest construction spending is still found among colleges and schools, with colleges in 2019 planning to spend 48.8 percent more than the average for all facility types, and schools spending 13 percent more.

The lowest construction costs were found among camps, who planned to spend 69.7 percent less than the average for all respondents. They were followed by health clubs, spending 31.7 percent less.

Respondents in the South Central region reported the highest overall increase in their average construction spending from 2018 to 2019. In this region, respondents' construction spending budgets increased 53.1 percent, from $3,070,000 in 2018 to $4,700,000 in 2019. They were followed by the West, where construction budgets rose 35.8 percent, from $4,890,000 in 2018 to $6,640,000 in 2019. Smaller increases were reported in the Midwest (up 16.5 percent, from $4,360,000 to $5,080,000) and the South Atlantic states (up 11.8 percent, from $4,580,000 to $5,120,000). In the Northeast, respondents saw an 11.3 percent decrease in the amount they plan to spend on construction, from $3,900,000 in 2018 to $3,460,000 in 2019. (See Figure 29.)