Each year, more and more campus recreation facilities are going through updates and renovations to become expansive and inclusive spaces offering far more than a series of intramural sports courts.
According to a research study conducted by the National Intramural Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), over 60 percent of current and prospective college and university students reported the recreation facility and programs offered on campus has an influence on their decision to attend. Hence, the evolution of the campus rec facility from design and aesthetics to fitness and sports programming has begun.
No matter what stage of renovations or updates your rec center is experiencing, consistency is key. Let’s take a closer look at how consistency in design and adaptive, intuitive floor layouts can contribute to the overall success of a comprehensive recreation center.
Design elements that feature school colors might be a no-brainer but can serve a more inspiring purpose. A simple but effective example of this is a large art graphic featured in the brand-new campus rec center at Louisiana State University (LSU). The campus recreation facility tagline “Learn, Play, Succeed” is the focal point prominently placed on a large wall in LSU purple and gold. While student and recreational athletes often train in different campus facilities, the addition of school colors, traditions and mottos to the facilities designed to serve recreational athletes inspires a feeling of all-inclusive team spirit.
Trends in facility design and floor layout for campus rec run parallel to those in the health club space. Open floor plans providing enhanced visibility of all the different workout spaces create a welcome and inclusive environment. Using windows and glass dividing walls within a fitness center not only creates the preferred open design concept, but also provides sight lines throughout to the different activity trends, spaces and equipment. When patrons can observe new equipment and programs before they participate, the idea of trying something new becomes less intimidating. However, remember to yield to the design pros to create a consistent balance between visibility and privacy when it comes to workout spaces to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.
If your facility isn’t scheduled for a significant update or renovation at this time, explore opportunities to create a welcome feel by making the most of the space you have. Fitness facilities of all types often group like equipment together; cardio equipment is often grouped together and separated from strength machines and free weights. However, creating a new look and feel can be done without the addition of new, large equipment pieces. Simply seek out a space in which you can group cardio and strength pieces together to create an intuitive and comprehensive circuit training zone.
By Elisabeth Fouts. She serves as the education coordinator for Power Systems and is their primary content contributor for blogs and articles on a variety of subjects from personal training and group fitness programming to product spotlights and health club operations. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science and has over 12 years of experience in the fitness industry from a personal trainer and group fitness instructor to regional level fitness management. Elisabeth is also a Master Trainer for PowerWave Master and holds industry group fitness certifications with ACE & Les Mills. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.