RECENT ARTICLES
  • Video: 2014 Facilities of Merit Preview

    by Michael Gaio August 2014

    The Architectural Showcase is always one of the highlights of the year here at Athletic Business. We invite architects, builders, consultants and facility owners to submit their best work from the previous three years. The difficult part is choosing just 10 of these outstanding facilities to earn the honor of being recognized as our Facilities of Merit.

  • Spontaneous Combustion of Oily Rags Causes HS Court Fire

    by AB Editors August 2014

    Editor's Note: This article was originally posted by Hardwood Floors, AB's sister publication.

    The start of school for a number of high school students in Green Bay, Wis., will be delayed until mid-September due to smoke damage from a fire that started after rags used to clean up a refinishing job spontaneously combusted in the middle of the night. 

  • How Facility Location Impacts the Building Process

    by Ralph Agostinelli July 2014

    I’m heading down to Nantucket next week. That’s not unusual. I head down to Nantucket every week, since we’re building a Boys & Girls Club addition there. But doing business on Nantucket is very unusual — and it drives home the message of how construction projects play out in different locations.

    Prospective building owners often assume that you can take a $10 million rec center in one location, plop it down in another location, and it’ll still be a $10 million rec center. Many of them are surprised to hear that a 14-month construction schedule in one place might — with the same program, square footage and materials — be a 16-month job in another. Nantucket is the proof that there is no “normal.”

    The nature of working on an island is that everything costs more and takes longer. This can also be true of other more-remote, rural locations. But Nantucket has other issues, too. Tourism is its primary source of revenue, and it’s seasonal revenue. To protect its tourism interests, there’s a local statute that bars construction within the downtown commercial district during the summer. This not only shortens the construction season to eight and a half months in that area, it eliminates the prime construction season.

    RELATED: Understanding Bids and Specs: Get the Best Value When Building

    The year-round population has doubled since 1980, to around 10,000. The summertime population is 55,000. If you are in an area where construction can proceed during the summer, as our project is, that means transportation snags and bottlenecks, and inevitably higher prices on goods and services. In the winter, weather can wreak its own havoc on transportation, and the availability of on-island labor can drop in sync with the seasonal population drop.

    When we estimate costs on a proposed project, we take all of these things into account — the distance that labor and materials must travel to reach the job site, expected weather patterns, local laws that might impinge on the project, costs associated with different trades or unions, and many other seemingly minor aspects of management. It’s particularly helpful when prospective building owners have an understanding of the local political culture and an awareness of regional differences that could account for variances in cost. We cover this early and often, describing what we see as the unique local variables that go with each project — the kinds of things that owners might not, but should, think about.

    More from Ralph Agostinelli:


    Ralph J Agostinelli, PE (ragostinelli@stanmar-inc.com) is senior project manager at Stanmar Inc., a Wayland, Mass., design-build firm specializing in athletic and recreation facilities.

  • End-to-End Practice Courts Afford K-State Flexibility

    by Paul Steinbach June 2014

    When one thinks of multi-court gymnasiums, a boxy side-by-side configuration typically comes to mind. The two-year-old basketball training facility at Kansas State University, designed by Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous, instead features two courts placed end to end.

  • During Construction It’s Decision Time, Again and Again

    by Ralph Agostinelli June 2014

    The design is complete, the shovels are in the ground. How are you planning to spend the next 12 to 18 months, while your new building takes shape?

  • Five Injured by Falling Batting Cage in Gym

    by Emily Attwood June 2014

    It wasn’t the action on the court that got fans’ hearts pumping at a high school summer volleyball match held at Goshen College Recreational-Fitness Center in Indiana this past Monday.

  • Athletic Business Architectural Showcase 2014 Map

    by AB Staff June 2014

    View 2014 AB showcase locations in a full screen map

    This year marks the 27th year of Athletic Business's Architectural Showcase and 29th Facility of Merit awards program. The University of Tennessee's Neyland Stadium graced the cover of the first "Showcase on Architecture" as it was initially called, one of 45 facilities to be highlighted in the June 1988 issue.

    Not surprisingly, facilities have gotten bigger and more expensive since our first Showcase — there is a more than $100 million difference between the most expensive project this year and its counterpart in 1988 — but there's still room for smaller projects. College projects continue to dominate the market, though preferences have changed — a campus-rec standard today, climbing walls were all but nonexistent in facilities of the '80s.

  • The Keys to a Smooth Construction Approval Process

    by Ralph Agostinelli May 2014

    A gymnasium is a big building. If you're constructing a gym in or next to a residential area, you need to make sure it fits into the fabric of the neighborhood.

  • Proper Cleaning and Maintenance for Hardwood Courts

    by Emily Attwood May 2014

    A hardwood court is a big investment for any athletic facility. Like any big investment, organizations want to do whatever they can to take care of it. But when the people in charge of the court are unfamiliar with proper basic care, they tend to end up doing too much — or not enough. "With gym floors, there's so many misconceptions about what you're supposed to or not supposed to do because the floor is wood," says Bill Price Jr., national sport manger with Aurora, Colo.-based hardwood care specialist Bona. "The people who maintain floors have grown up with the notion that you can't put water on wood. For that reason, most gym floors get neglected. They don't get the proper maintenance because people are afraid."

  • Successful Project Design Borne of Strong Relationships

    by Ralph Agostinelli April 2014

    School and sports administrators embarking on their first-ever capital project are sometimes surprised to learn how much architecture firms resemble other types of corporations. From the moment the architect steps in front of the building committee, making a pitch while brandishing renderings in watercolor, the image is of the architect as artist, driving this misreading of design firms.