From Racquetball Courts to Performance Zones

performance zones

Real estate is crucial within your facility. It is essential that each and every space is used to its full capacity. And chances are, when your facility was constructed it had numerous racquetball courts that now sit unused the majority of the time.

Last month, we posted a story about converting your un-used racquetball courts into more functional space, and it was one of the most read stories on the website. So clearly this is a topic many of you are interested in.

Currently, Kansas State University is in the process of converting five of their racquetball courts into performance courts. As Steve Martini, the director of recreational services explained, the Peters Recreation Complex opened in 1980 when racquetball and handball were very popular.

“We had 16 courts on a reservation system, and they were used very heavily,” he explained. “As years progressed, with the advent of more individual workout formats and equipment available to our students and staff, weight rooms, cardio areas and fitness classes became more popular. The use of our courts decreased greatly.”

With the decrease in popularity, Kansas State converted two courts into squash courts. Then due to the age of the courts, it was clear maintaining the un-used courts was simply a drain on resources.

“We decided to initiate the project of renovating the entry and back wall system of all 16 courts,” said Martini. “As our thoughts developed, we decided to re-purpose five of these courts into performance courts and to create a private exercise room. We had received requests from a group of women interested in a private area to workout. They needed an area that was not visible to others.”

The new Performance Zone incorporates five regulation sized handball/racquetball courts. Four of the courts will have a composite rubber flooring over the original flooring. The remaining floor surface will have turf flooring. Sound panels will be aligned in each court to reduce the echo heard in the standard racquetball court. Performance graphics will cover the front walls. Each zone will have different equipment to allow for different exercises that have gained popularity in the last few years with the advent of CrossFit, functional training and obstacle races and events.

The new space will be open to students in November. According to Martini, they are planning a grand opening to introduce students to the Performance Zone. “We are creating signage, policies and planning programs to enhance the use of the Performance Zones,” added Martini. “The Zones will be open during the entire day. Our personal trainers will use the areas for work with their individual clients. We are also planning a ‘Workout of the Day’ for the Zones. And we are planning special group classes that incorporate the use of the Zones.”

As with any project, renovating the racquetball courts did come with its challenges. However, Martini recommended anyone consider a similar project if you have an over-abundance of racquetball courts.

“Times have changed and the evolution of exercise patterns will continue to evolve,” he said. “It is important to plan with flexibility in mind for changes to your facility, structure and use. Budgets are always a concern for recreation professionals, but spending with a solid and encompassing plan will save you from making additions and changes in the future.”

Emily Harbourne was a previous editor for Campus Rec Magazine.

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