Trends in Fitness Center Design

Trends in Fitness Center Design

As I sat in on a recent interview with BRS Partner Steve Blackburn for Recreation Management’s May issue on design trends, I had the opportunity to learn about some of the ways in which the design of community recreation centers has evolved since BRS founder Ron Rinker designed the Washington Park Recreation Center in the early 1970s.

When you take a look at the timeline of key projects in the firm’s history, you can identify innovations which came about through the design process for each project. For example, the City Park Recreation Center in Westminster featured the first indoor leisure aquatic center in the United States. The East Boulder Recreation Center was where BRS first invented and experimented with the concept of the family locker room, or what we now call changing cabanas. In some of our newest facilities, such as Provo Recreation Center, UT, Olathe Community Center, KS, and The REC of Grapevine, TX, we’ve been able to feature some new and innovative ideas for the fitness spaces. The top four trends of a Fitness Center are:


Separate areas for weights, circuit training, cardio, specialized TRX, and group exercise is a good idea. When you consider the different types of people who use each of these areas, it is important to give each user group the space for their own unique experience.


You need more than one room for group exercise to accommodate the demand for all of the different types of classes. Group classes have become very popular and it’s impossible to hold a class for each type – think Zumba, Yoga, Spinning, Tai Chi, and Martial Arts – during peak hours, unless you have multiple rooms. In Southlake, TX, for example, we’re including 6 rooms in their community recreation center to meet this high demand.


Personal fitness-on-demand is the latest trend to consider when programming a recreation center. The Morenci Recreation Center in Arizona includes rooms in which people can exercise to the DVD workout program of their choice. These are smaller rooms that feature a large screen and DVD player and are complete with all equipment necessary to perform the workout.


We’re seeing a trend toward smaller courts in gymnasiums. In the past, Centers wanted NBA-sized courts – the bigger the better. As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, there is now a shift toward smaller and shorter courts that can accommodate a variety of activities, from pickle ball to indoor soccer, that allow this active aging population to remain competitive.

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 09:28am

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