Navigating a building or renovation project is not for the faint of heart. As a project manager, it can feel like you're a one-person circus, juggling the needs of your community members with the wants of your stakeholders and the realities of your budget. From inception to ribbon-cutting, you're in for a whirlwind of a process. Once you've received community support and procured funding for your project, the work begins of picking an architect, selecting design and functionality elements and finding products to fill your facility. Here are a few quick tips to help you each step of the way.
Picking an architect
Throughout your capital improvement project, you'll have an intimate relationship with the architect you select, so it's important to choose wisely.
The outcome of your project relies heavily on the architect. Consider selecting an architect that shares your vision, is on top of the latest design trends, and works well with you and your team. Unfortunately, many of those qualitative features do not show through in a proposal, so it can be helpful to meet with architects face-to-face, whether on-site at their firm or at an industry event. Doing so will help ensure you pick the right people for the job.
Deciding WHICH trends to incorporate
If there is one thing the athletics, fitness and recreation industries can boast it's that they are never stagnant — the landscape of the industry is ever evolving. From working toward being more accessible and inclusive to incorporating more technology and new programming, there are a ton of trends to keep on top of. Incorporating every new trend into your facility isn't necessary, or realistic; rather, find the mix of trends that is right for your users.
For example, many college rec centers are taking a more holistic approach to health and wellness by creating spaces for cooking classes, social wellbeing workshops and mental health programming in their facilities. The best way to really see how these spaces function and if they'd be valuable to your users is to visit some facilities to get a first-hand look, or by networking with your peers who are going through the same process. Tours and networking opportunities will give you a chance to learn about up-and-coming trends and see how others are incorporating these new ideas into their facilities.
Finding products to fill your facility
From lockers and fitness equipment to flooring and lights, you have the opportunity to define the user experience for everyone who walks through the doors. But how do you know what's right for your users?
Very few users actually care about every incredible spec a piece of equipment has or how efficient your lighting system is. What matters to your users is that the fitness equipment in your facility is accessible and easy to use. What better way to experience the products than by actually testing them out?
Seeing and feeling how they work is by far the best way to understand the experience each product will give your users — and one of the best ways to do this is by attending an industry expo. With everything from the latest treadmill model to the cleaning supplies used to wipe it down, an expo hall will bring it all together under one roof, making it possible to conveniently test everything in one place.
The grand opening and beyond
This is the day capital improvement project managers look forward to: seeing the positive impact their new facility will have on the health and overall well-being of its users and community. But your work undoubtedly is not over once you cut the ribbon. Don't forget to stay in contact with the connections you've made along the way and consistently gather new information on trends that you can bring back to your patrons to keep user retention high.
Luckily, there's one place where everything comes together, including architects, peers who've been in your shoes, manufacturers, and experts looking to share their knowledge: AB Show. To help you find the products you need and to get in-depth training on how to successfully navigate your building or renovation project, attend AB Show 2019 – Nov. 13-16 in Orlando. You'll have the chance to discover more than 250 exhibiting companies in the expo hall and hear case studies, troubleshoot your challenges with peers and learn from industry experts in 125-plus educational sessions.
Learn more and register at abshow.com/mag. Or, if you have an upcoming building/renovation project with a budget of more than $5 million, apply for an all-expenses paid VIP pass at athl.biz/VIP.
This article originally appeared in the June 2019 issue of Athletic Business with the title "Your Building & Renovation Project Roadmap." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.