Zach Bisek, AIA, LEED AP

Recreation Revival Part III

Recreation Revival Part III

Finding those spaces that have low cost and high revenue potential is a fundamental priority to a successful renovation. The following are some examples of opportunities that may emerge from an assessment:

Multiuse Spaces: Like any good Swiss army knife, multiuse spaces bring interchangeable value and programming options for a facility operator. Multi-activity gymnasiums are becoming a desired feature when compared to a traditional single- or dual-court gym and have the flexibility to support both a pick-up basketball game and a gymnastics class one hour and then convert to an indoor roller hockey game an hour later.

Cardio Spaces: New technologies have also created additional flexibility in cardio spaces. With video-based group exercise systems and online instruction growing in popularity, class schedules are being revised to better accommodate low-use times as well as support current local fads or industry trends. For example, between 6 and 9 a.m., a teacher-instructed class is typically in full swing. This same room may be reserved for a private online yoga class at 10 a.m., and then after the lunch rush clears out around 2 p.m., a small group of friends drops by to demo one of the new infomercial-inspired workouts. Creating fitness flexibility out of one space creates choices in programming that most facilities find hard to adopt otherwise.

Energy-Efficiency: Most of America has adopted green technologies and sustainable design, but what does this mean for your existing recreation center? EUI (energy use intensity) is a unit of measurement that describes a building’s energy use and represents the energy consumed by a building relative to its size. Recreation centers have some of the worst EUI ratings among all building types, especially those housing a pool space. Reducing energy consumption in your newly renovated recreation facility should be a fundamental priority of the project. In looking at energy cost-saving measures, be sure to understand the annual savings, initial cost and the simple payback for all options. Tackle the low-hanging fruit first: replace outdated lighting fixtures with LEDs; use more high-efficiency window glazing or secondary shading; and reduce water consumption with regenerative media pool filters and low-flow fixtures. Look into the various public tax credits and utility company incentives offered in your area to help fund these projects.

The last and most difficult step in evaluating a renovation project can be identifying the “glue” that holds the project together after the renovation is complete. With all the new spaces, technologies, systems and programming elements in place, it is easy to forget the small design elements that unify the design and create a cohesive experience. With the use of color and light, texture and tone, and character and consistency, a design can emphasize pathways, visual connections, way-finding themes, structural highlights, nature and public art. Making the “glue” a leading priority to personalize these interstitial design elements will make your renovation project feel like it was intended from the start, and can seamlessly blend the old with the new.

Posted by Zach Bisek, AIA, LEED AP on September 23, 2014 at 12:49pm

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