RECENT ARTICLES
  • 2014 Facilities of Merit: Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center

    by AB Editors October 2014

    Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center | Auburn, Ala.

    The Auburn University Recreation and Wellness Center wowed judges with its signature element, a crisscrossing, corkscrewing walking/jogging track believed to be the longest (at one-third of a mile) of its kind in the country.

  • Coming Monday: 2014 Facilities of Merit Winners

    by AB Editors October 2014

    For two weeks beginning Monday, the 10 winners of the 2014 Facilities of Merit awards will be announced on AthleticBusiness.com.

  • Window Graphics Become Gymnastics Center’s Signature

    by Paul Steinbach September 2014

    Utilized in cardiovascular equipment areas, around jogging tracks and in other program spaces, exterior glass performs triple duty.

  • New Projects: Colorado Springs Rec | Beverly Morgan Park Gymnastics Center and Ice Arena

    by Emily Attwood September 2014

    Breaking Ground

    Construction is under way on Beverly Morgan Park Gymnastics Center and Ice Arena in Chicago.

  • 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?

  • Survey Reveals Security Practices at Public Recreation Centers

    by Paul Steinbach August 2014

    In May 2013, the City of Philadelphia Commission on Parks and Recreation released a report titled "Safety in Philadelphia Parks and Recreation Centers." The 15-member commission's work was spurred by a spate of security-related incidents — ranging from shootings and robberies to trespassing and vandalism — in the city's rec facilities during the summer of 2011.

  • Nebraska Adventure Center Supports Exterior Climbing Wall

    by Paul Steinbach August 2014

    "Everybody keeps pushing the edges on these buildings," says Al Oberlander, principal and COO at Des Moines, Iowa-based RDG Planning & Design.

  • 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.