Facility Dude

Shaping the Future of Your Recreation and Fitness Facilities

By Emma Finch
Jan 28, 2015

Clubs, Government, Facilities Management, Industry News

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As I look over Recreation Management’s 2014 State of the Industry report, some of the findings catch my eye. Firstly: the top-of-mind challenge in recreation, sports, and fitness facilities is equipment and facility maintenance.

6 Tips for playground safety and maintenance this winter Over half of survey respondents said that their number one concern for the upcoming year is maintaining and updating their facilities and equipment in order to ensure they can continue to attract patrons. The survey also showed that the average age of recreation facilities is 31.4 years old, which is fairly old (the group with the oldest buildings was camps, coming in at an average of 47 years old!). The majority of respondents said that they had taken steps to reduce expenditures, including: improving energy efficiency, increasing fees, and reducing staff. Respondents from the public parks group indicated that their main steps to cut budget were to put projects on hold, reduce operating hours, and shorten their operating season. 

What I’m getting at is that facility and maintenance workers in sports and recreation facilities have a perfect storm of factors impacting their jobs. Trying to maintain older facilities with reduced budgets is a tricky task, which is probably why it shows up as the top concern. As facilities age, they require more repairs, replacements, and renovations, which means they need more budget allocated to them. In this era of tightened budgets, facilities teams aren’t getting the budget allotment their aging facilities require and are left struggling to keep their assets in good shape. These trends mean that those working in recreation, sports, and fitness facilities must make changes in order to get by.

How do you do this? Well, the process begins with tracking your work so that you can increase visibility into what is required to keep the facilities in good working order. Having documentation of your workload gives you the data to decrease the gap between how hard others in your organization perceive you to be working and how hard you are actually working. Few outside of the facilities team know how many hours you put in to maintaining the equipment and facilities, and all the daily challenges that come along with that responsibility. Once others—including management—have a better handle on what it takes to manage the organization’s facilities (and how much that costs), it’s hard to argue with how many staff members and how much budget your team needs. Tracking your work may mean you can stop putting projects on hold and reducing operating hours, and ensure that your facilities continue to help your organization be successful.

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