Are you turning athletes away from your youth sports organization because you don’t have enough space to accommodate the players? Are you limiting how many teams you can form based on the number of available fields, courts or rinks? Are you constantly looking at other organizations’ facilities with envy as you dream about your own facility’s remodel?
Or maybe worse – you’re losing players to neighboring clubs who have better facilities.
If this is the case, it can signal that your youth sports club needs a new sports structure. This is a big decision – and a huge investment – so clubs should consider the following tips when deciding if it’s time to start building a new facility.
Signs You’re Ready to Build a New Youth Sports Facility
Before you dive into building plans, your club needs to ensure it is ready to invest in a new sports facility. If you fall into the following categories, it can signal your organization is prepared to invest in a new structure.
You’ve Experienced Club Growth
First, you need to look at your organization’s participation numbers. Is your club growing at a pace fast enough to fill and support a new, larger facility? Pull registration data from the past several seasons to ensure there is growing interest in the club. Also consider how you can add even more players in the future.
Your Profits Have Steadily Increased
Next, your organization should look at its financial status. How profitable is the club? How quickly are profits increasing? Have the profits been growing steadily? Can your club sustain that pace? You want to be cautious about over-extending the organization by investing in a new facility, so it’s important to evaluate your finances carefully.
You Have Investors
Building a new youth sports facility could require outside investors, depending on your club’s financial standing. If needed, does your club have access to funding or potential investors for the new facility? Make sure the investors are the right partners for the organization and that they embrace the club’s mission and values.
How to Start Planning the Facility
Once you determine your youth sports club is ready to invest in a new sports facility, it’s time to start thinking about planning the structure – and the logistics that go with it.
Determine What Activities the Facility will Host
Your organization needs to decide the purpose of the facility. Determining what sports will be held at the facility, how many teams it will need to hold, and how many athletes will be using the area will help establish the scope and the size of the structure. Knowing this information will also help determine the safety requirements of the facility, as each sport will have different safety requirements. Your club will also need to decide what accommodations the space should have, including training rooms, restrooms, concession areas and spectator areas.
Set a Budget
After determining the requirements for the facility, the next step is to work with the organization and its investors to decide on a budget for the project. This should include all total expenses forecasted for the new facility.
Find a Contractor
With the requirements and funding in place, you need to find a contractor who will design and build the facility. It’s important to interview several companies before making a decision. Conduct thorough research by visiting their websites, looking at other facilities and projects they’ve completed, and ask for client referrals. Also, make sure they are comfortable with your budget and can keep the scope of the project within it.
Before you can break ground on a new facility you need to get approval from the local municipality. You should bring the contractor’s plans to the local zoning department to learn about any regulations you must meet and get their approval to build the facility.
With the major plans in place, it’s time to determine the specifications for the facility. This can include the types of playing surfaces, requirements for maintaining them (such as any irrigation and drainage that’s needed), lighting, and other field, court, or rink needs.
When building a new youth sports facility, it’s important to not overlook the importance of adequate parking. Knowing what kinds of events will be held at the facility and how many spectators are expected at events can help determine how many parking spaces are needed. When designing parking you should also consider how far visitors will have to walk from their cars to the playing facilities.
A lot goes into determining if your youth sports club is ready to start building a new youth sports facility. Before you draw up building plans, first ensure the new facility falls into the club’s financial scope and that it will benefit the athletes and the organization.