Blog: Tagged 'Renovation'
You may have an idea of what improvements you would like to see in your recreation center, but no plans should be made until a due-diligence assessment of the full facility is completed. Put yourself in the shoes of a first-time visitor and take a look at your facility, asking the following questions:Continue
EXTERIOR + ENTRY
- What is the image portrayed by the facility?
- Do I feel safe during my visit?
- Is it easy to find and enter the site?
- Is there a spot to lock up a bike?
- Is there enough car parking?
- Do I know where to go once I approach and enter the building?
*Asking these questions helps you understand the vital first impression the facility has on users.
- What are my impressions when I enter?
- Am I wowed?
- Is it clear where to go or to whom I should speak?
- Did someone greet me?
*Consider the ability of staff to greet and direct patrons as well as control the flow of people. This applies to existing users allowed swift entry and also new members needing assistance. Ensuring great customer service will always provide the largest return on investment.
- Are corridors well-lit, clean, with appealing colors and design?
- What, if anything, is on the walls?
- What programming opportunities are visible as I walk down the hall?
*From a cost perspective, corridors and hallways are typically wasted space unless they can serve dual purposes. Consider using these spaces as a pre-function meeting area or for designated donor or public art displays. Internal windows or view portals within a corridor are an excellent way to show off the facility while advertising activities and programs.
- Are the locker rooms clean?
- Do I have enough privacy?
- Are lockers and amenities accessible to users of all abilities?
- Are there any broken lockers, locks or fixtures?
*These changing spaces can be some of the most outdated and unhappy areas of an older facility. The design layout is typically based on an antiquated use model that has not been updated with more-modern privacy standards, ADA accessibility requirements and user-friendly amenities.
- What are the existing programs offered?
- How well-attended are classes?
- When was the last time new programs were added?
*Often, we hear that these spaces — originally intended for great flexibility — never reach the highest utilization because of common issues such as improper floor finish selection (which limits certain activities) or the inability to consistently staff and schedule the room for maximum use.
- How old is the pool?
Does it meet all the recent code changes regarding accessibility, safety and
Are primary chemical and supplemental treatment systems up to current
Does the air temperature feel comfortable, and is the smell of chloramines
- Have any of the materials in the room degraded due to rust or excessive moisture?
- Are the levels of natural and artificial lighting adequate?
How loud is it? Can a swim instructor be heard clearly on one side of the
space while the screaming toddlers are splashing around on the other side?
*Aquatics areas can provide some of the most concerning issues in an existing facility. However, they can also provide some of the most impactful opportunities for improvement. Swimming pools, as well as the overall natatorium envelope, need to be assessed.
- Are all areas of the building comfortably heated/cooled?
- Are different areas able to be programmed or controlled individually?
- Are gymnasium spaces being cooled and lit when not in use?
Are newer, more-energy-efficient systems available for water heating,
lighting, building cooling, etc.?
*Advances in mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems have come a long way in the past 10 to 20 years. Adopting new design strategies or energy-efficient systems seems like a no-brainer for a renovation project. However, they can be difficult to sell if it means forfeiting programming space to stay within budget.
Posted by Zach Bisek, AIA, LEED AP on August 12, 2014 at 03:51pm
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
BRS made the front cover of Athletic Business Magazine, thanks to Zach Bisek and his article Recreation Revival. The renovation projects found in this article include: the Kroc Center Suisun, Shawnee YMCA, and the Goodson Recreation Center. Read more to soak up Bisek's valuable outlook and advice on how to restore an out-of-date rec center.
Posted on July 17, 2014 at 10:24am
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