Feature Article - June 2020
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2020 Report on the State of the Managed Recreation Industry

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

By Emily Tipping

Facilities & Construction Plans

We've been asking survey participants how old their main facility is since 2013. In that time, facilities have aged from an average of 27.5 years in 2013. In 2020, respondents' facilities were, on average, 35 years old, up from 33.5 in 2019.

More than one-third (36%) of respondents said their facilities were 41 years or older, up from 33.2% in 2019. Nearly one-fifth (17.5%) of respondents have facilities that were at least 50 years old. Nearly one-quarter (24.2%) had facilities between 21 and 40 years old, while 20.8% said their facilities were between 11 and 20 years old. Just 14.6% of respondents had facilities that were 10 years old or less, with half of those having new facilities of 5 years or less.

As usual the newest facilities were found among health clubs and colleges. Respondents from health clubs have an average facility age of 23.9 years, while college facilities' average age is 28.2 years. They were followed by park facilities, at 32.8 years on average, and rec centers, with an average of 33.9 years. The oldest facilities were found among camps, where the average facility age is 51.8 years. (See Figure 25.)

The percentage of respondents who are planning construction within the next several years has been climbing gradually, from a low of 62.7% in 2013 to 72.9% in 2020. However, the impact of COVID-19 on these construction plans is undoubtable. More than one-third (34.3%) of respondents to the Update Survey in May indicated that they were putting construction plans on hold as a result of the pandemic.

According to the original Industry Report survey, well over half (57.3%) of respondents said they were planning to renovate their existing facilities, up from 52.8% in 2019. Another 34.6% were planning to make additions to their facilities, and 31.1% were planning new construction. (See Figure 26.)

With the oldest facilities, on average, it comes as little surprise that camp respondents were the most likely to report that they had plans for construction. Some 85.3% of camp respondents said they were planning construction, up from 83.6% in 2019. They were followed by parks (80.8% of whom were planning construction), Ys (74.4%) and schools (69.3%). Respondents from colleges were the least likely to be planning construction, though more than half (52.4%) indicated they had such plans. They were followed by health clubs (59.5%) and rec centers (62.4%).

Camp respondents were the most likely to be planning either renovations or additions. Some 69.3% of camp respondents said they were planning renovations to their existing facilities, while 41.3% were planning additions.

Park respondents were the most likely to be planning new construction. Nearly four in 10 (38.7%) park respondents said they were planning to construct new facilities in the next three years.