RECENT ARTICLES
  • Improved Rec Centers Costly, But It's Money Well-Spent

    by John Holland September 2014

    There was no talk of money, although taxpayers are going to be on the hook for a lot of cash. And there was no complaining about wasteful spending or political favoritism or public-private partnerships, the buzzwords for development all around the state.

  • YMCA Opens Region's Largest Indoor Playground

    by Andrew Brandt September 2014

    If there's one phrase kids universally loathe, it's "Don't run indoors!" 

    The lucky kids of Bristol, Tenn., however, are going to be hearing those three words a lot less frequently.

  • 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.

  • Blog: When Hiring Local Is Impossible, We Hire Regional

    by Ralph Agostinelli August 2014

    I have a question for operators of nonprofit recreation centers: Do you hire local? Your fitness director, your aquatics director, your front-desk staff, the people who handle your janitorial services — where do they live?

  • 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.

  • New Projects: UNO Arena | Falcon Center | Virginia Tech Training Facility

    by Emily Attwood July 2014

    Breaking Ground

    The UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA OMAHA recently broke ground on a new $62 million arena (pictured). The 220,000-square-foot facility, designed by Lempka Edson Architects of Lenexa, Kan., in collaboration with HDR Inc. of Omaha, will provide a home arena for the university's hockey, basketball and volleyball programs, but will also host a variety of community activities. Seating in the main arena will be split between an upper and lower bowl designed to hold 7,500 hockey spectators or 8,700 basketball or volleyball fans. Club seating and suites will be included, as well. A smaller, community ice rink will offer 200 seats and eight community locker rooms. Also included will be a full hockey team suite, locker facilities for basketball and volleyball and strength training facilities for student-athletes. The project is expected to open in 2015.

  • Ithaca College Tower Serves as Natural Air Exchanger

    by Paul Steinbach July 2014

    Opened in the fall of 2011, the Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center combines an iconic campus presence with an innovative sustainability strategy in one monumental design element.

  • Planning and Prioritizing Renovations for Rec Centers

    by Zach Bisek July 2014

    Many communities across the country are emerging from the recession with new energy, new life and new ideas for their future. While budgets are loosening, recreation organizations are still limited when it comes to undertaking new projects. Construction of a new recreation center is still out of reach for many organizations, but long-desired renovations of an existing facility might be feasible — at least some of them.

  • College Rec Centers the Key to a Higher GPA?

    by Michael Gaio July 2014

    Add this to the long list of benefits provided by a campus rec center: it may help students achieve better grades.

  • New Projects: University of Colorado; Guilford High School; Fairfield University

    by Emily Attwood July 2014

    Breaking Ground

    The University of Colorado (right) broke ground last month on $143 million in various athletic facility upgrades.