Across the United States, youth sports facilities are being erected at a break neck pace. Cities and towns everywhere are looking to capitalize on a $15 billion industry and all the opportunities for driving physical, social, economic outcomes that it can bring. If your community is considering a sports tourism destination industry, it’s important to realize that it is an investment, first and foremost. While the financial aspect of the investment is clear, it’s also important to realize that the youth sports facility you develop today must not only meet your community’s current needs but their future needs as well. When starting the sports facility construction process, it’s critical to understand how to best use your budget. From parking to court surfaces to the building process to square footage, it all matters and should all align with your definition of success for your facility. Without a laser focus on budget decisions that maximize operational success and makes your facility stand out in a crowded market, your investment may never be realized.
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Program-Driven Design in Sports Facility Construction
At the Sports Facilities Companies, we utilize a process called program-driven design for right-sizing development costs. Prior to the start of the sports facility construction process, a financial forecast or Pro Forma is developed. This report provides revenue projects, cost estimates, land requirements, operating expenses, and utilization projections, among other items. Through its data, the Pro Forma helps define the design requirements that, when implemented, will help the new facility best meet its revenue goals. The “program plan”, as it is referred, becomes the guiding force for what purchases should be made during the construction process, ensuring that the materials, equipment, and services that are budgeted for align with the goals of the facility.
Factors that Dictate Construction Costs
Right-sizing sports facility construction costs starts with your community’s goals for the venue. Are they developing a sports tourism destination? Is the facility designated for local recreation use? Is it a combination of both? These goals help to determine what the design decisions that need to be made and the costs associated with them. The concept is simple, but the execution can be nuanced. When developing a local recreation center the “fit and finish” or look and feel of the facility is important. Many of these venues have a membership component and are supported by the local community. With that, comes an expectation that the facility they’re investing in and use daily is top notch. The quality of the equipment is important as is the outside appearance of the venue. This can dictate decisions related to soft costs such as the exterior and interior design of the building and FF&E (furniture, fixtures, and equipment).
For sports tourism complexes, it’s critically important to have the features necessary to successfully host events. This means having enough courts, fields, parking spaces, and restrooms, among other items, to provide an optimal experience for athletes and guests. Beyond that, the type of equipment needed is important. For example, if you’re program plan dictates that you host Division 1 college basketball, requirements around court spaces (you’ll need a championship court), the surface itself (high performance floors needed), and lighting will be different than if you were hosting youth basketball tournaments. The size of the tournaments you’d like to host will dictate design decisions as well. If you are competing for national tournaments, you’ll need no less than eight courts, however, 10-12 is more suitable. This can dictate decisions related to hard costs such as the building itself and site development.
While sports facility construction costs are not mutually exclusive (fit and finish is important to tournament destinations, facility size is important to local recreation venues, etc.) right sizing these costs is all about focusing your most significant investment on the items that will most positively impact your definition of success.
Sports facility construction is a significant investment in physical and financial outcomes in your community, at the SF Companies, we’ve worked with over 2,000 communities over the years to guide them through all aspects of sports facility development from feasibility studies to the venue planning process, we do it all. To learn more contact us today at 727-474-3845.