Supplement Feature - February 2020
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A Deep Dive Into Aquatic Facility Trends

By Emily Tipping

Money Matters

The average operating costs for aquatic facilities increased 3.9% from 2017 to 2018, from an average of $510,000 to $530,000. Looking forward, respondents expect operating costs to increase another 9.4% between 2018 and 2020, from $530,000 to $580,000. (See Figure 7.)

Respondents from parks and Ys had the highest average operating costs in 2018, with parks spending an average of $670,000 and Ys spending $580,000 in that year. They were followed by schools ($400,000) and rec centers ($370,000). Camps and colleges had the lowest operating costs, with camps spending an average of $100,000 in 2018 and colleges spending $260,000. (See Figure 8.)

From 2018 to 2019, the greatest increases in operating expenses are expected among respondents from colleges, who projected a 23.1% increase from an average of $260,000 to $320,000 in 2019. They were followed by respondents with much more modest increases, with rec centers expecting a 5.4% increase from $370,000 to $390,000; parks projecting a 3% increase from $670,000 to $690,000; schools expecting a 2.5% increase from $400,000 to $410,000; and Ys projecting a 1.7% increase from $580,000 to $590,000.

From 2018 to 2020, colleges also expect the greatest increase, but this is only because they projected no change in their operating cost from 2019 to 2020, resulting in a 23.1% increase from 2018 to 2020. Increases of greater than 10% are also expected among respondents from schools (a 15% increase to $460,000); parks (up 10.4% to $740,000); and camps (up 10% to $110,000). Smaller increases are expected by those from rec centers, who projected a 2.7% increase to $380,000. Ys actually projected a 12.1% drop in their operating costs from 2018 to 2020, to an average of $510,000.