Blog: July 2014
Braving a stormy forecast and an ominous horizon, 20+ BRS staffers kicked off the summer with a camping excursion to Golden Gate State Park. Led by BRS camper extraordinaire, Chuck Musgrave, the group included savvy veterans as well as first timers, families and friends, and of course a handful of our favorite four legged friends.Continue
I, along with a couple other brave staffers made the courageous choice to leave our significant others at home and camp for the first time with our toddlers. Without technology to distract us, we settled in around the campfire and shifted our attention to the construction of the perfect s'more and the finer details of dutch oven cooking.
The ground stayed dry, our bellies stayed full, laughter was abundant, sleep was fleeting, and everyone pitched in to make the weekend a rousing success.
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Posted by Andy Stein, LEED AP on July 28, 2014 at 01:43pm
Many communities across the country are emerging from the recession with new energy, new life and new ideas for their future. While budgets are loosening, recreation organizations are still limited when it comes to undertaking new projects. Construction of a new recreation center is still out of reach for many organizations, but long-desired renovations of an existing facility might be feasible — at least some of them.Continue
Before beginning any renovations, recreation facility operators should identify and prioritize the key opportunities within a center. The first step in almost any financial endeavor is to assess the local and regional markets. How have the demographics of your community changed? Are young families moving out, while active aging adults are moving in? Have other service providers come into town? Whether it is a private, public or nonprofit entity, each of these organizations most likely offer alternative user amenities, levels of service, or pricing structures to attract their customers.
Also consider the future of recreation. Research the new and upcoming trends in facility design, equipment and programming that could help define your unique position in the marketplace.
The next step is to perform an assessment of your existing facility. Begin by reviewing the existing information: previously completed studies, facility master plans or resident surveys may have already identified areas of focus or concern. Analyzing past performance numbers or trend logs is an excellent way to identify areas of potential improvement that may not be as easily seen on a day-to-day basis. Has the operating budget fluctuated? Have admissions and memberships gone up or down? How about seasonal utility bill variations? Identifying one or two of these statistical anomalies may illustrate opportunities for financial operational savings or just simply provide a more user-friendly class schedule.
An assessment doesn’t need to be entirely negative; acknowledging what is working is equally important. Are there unique or historical links between the facility and the community or even special character features that should be preserved? Identifying and honoring these symbolic elements should be one of the easiest decisions a community makes when updating its facility.
The real meat and potatoes of an assessment begins once you step up to the front door. Reviewing the physical condition of a center can be a daunting task, but it will reveal some of the most obvious opportunities for improvement. The condition of the overall building’s structure and envelope, its plumbing, electrical and aquatic systems, as well as the facility’s existing interior finishes provides a very broad snapshot of how the facility has aged over the years.
Now clean off your boots and grab a drink of water. All of the information you gathered needs to be documented within a facility report for final review and input. Discuss your findings with city and district officials, faculty and staff, the general public and everyday users as well as neighboring strategic partners. Getting outside input on your facilities assessment report is a critical step to prioritizing each opportunity discovered during your evaluation.
With a complete assessment in hand, the next step is to identify the major areas of opportunity. The value of each space within a recreation center is not a simple equation and may change from community to community or user to user. Start by assigning costs, earned revenue potential and requested priorities from the assessment step for each new or improved space. Create a spreadsheet or chart or catalog index cards that track this information for easy reference and discussion. Every project will identify its own list of high-priority spaces based on this criteria. Many spaces may cost a substantial amount of money to renovate; however, if they can generate a notable amount of revenue, then their value in a project is likely to increase.
Recreation Revival Part II coming soon!Hide Full Post
Posted by Zach Bisek, AIA, LEED AP on July 23, 2014 at 09:58am
One of the best parts of what we do here at BRS is seeing the places we design transform into vital spaces for their communities. As we are completely engrossed in the design phases of a project, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that we are just one part of a much larger team, made up of a variety of community representatives who were all integral in bringing the project to fruition. When all is said and done and we get the chance to step back to put the process into perspective, we get a sense for how many people’s lives our buildings touch, and it is incredibly rewarding.Continue
Steve, Craig, Ken and I headed out to Olathe, Kansas at the beginning of July to celebrate the grand opening of the Olathe Community Center. The building was packed with community members enjoying the dedication ceremony, as well as the chance to tour their new community center. It was very touching to hear speeches by community officials who reminded us all that discussion on this community center had been going on for more than 40 years! What an honor to be a part of the final phase of the process that made this vision come to life!
BRS’s involvement in the project began by winning a national design competition. The final building is very similar to what we proposed at that time even though we went through quite a few design changes and budget challenges along the way.
The building is completely nestled into its natural surroundings in Stagecoach Park. It’s so rare that we have 100-year-old trees framing the new buildings!
It was great to see the community already drawn to the warm, inviting spaces that we had imagined within the building.
The community did an excellent job of working with a community-based art consultant to fill the building with meaningful, local art that enhances the entire experience. One of my favorites is a piece in the lobby commissioned specifically for the community center that is an abstract landscape with a view toward Olathe from the western plains.
Working on the Olathe Community Center has been a great pleasure to all of us here at BRS. We are incredibly excited for all of the new and wonderful memories to be made by those of the Olathe community. We’d also like to acknowledge the other talented members of our team: SFS Architecture, Water Technology, Henderson Engineering, Confluence, SK Design Group, George Butler Associates, and McCown Gordon Construction.
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Posted on July 16, 2014 at 05:03pm
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