August 3, 2022

Building a Sportsplex


Kelly Rader-Murphy

Constructing a sports facility comes with its own set of unique challenges.

#1 Design Challenges

Every sport requires a field with specific field dimensions. Inaccuracies in development of the fields would make the fields ineligible for play so it must be constructed perfectly. If sports are played indoor like pickle ball, badminton and volleyball ceiling height requirements vary. Zoning and permits can be particularly challenging to acquire for sports stadiums — especially indoor/outdoor facilities where sound may affect neighboring businesses or residents. Sports that are played outdoors like Tennis, Soccer, Baseball and Football require bright outdoor lighting because gameplay may be scheduled from early morning to late evening when it's still dark. HVAC system design varies by sport too, because for example, Badminton facilities cannot have traditional air conditioners with vents pushing air that might effect a birdie in play whereas Basketball and Volleyball prefer traditional central A/C with vents to keep players cool and comfortable. And ifspectator areas are part of the design, stands or seating should allow all audiences to see the full field regardless of where they are seated. And shade could be important, too, if spectators stands are outdoors. For sports facility construction, good design is a particularly good investment.

#2 Timing

It's important to realize organized sports are played in specific seasons. The Men's Baseball season for example runs from the end of March to the end of September while Women's Volleyball runs from late August to the end of October. Some sports have multiple seasons while others have just one. Sports facility construction must avoid delays and bake enough time into the plan to mitigate unforeseen risks. If a facility needs to accommodate multiple sports or different age groups, it dramatically increases building complexity. Timing the project completion and opening dates to correspond with the window of time aligning with the most sports seasons becomes paramount. When construction of a sport facility project experiences delays, the owner/operator risks completely missing a window for one or more sports seasons along with all the business revenue associated with the seasons regulation practice and playtime. With sports construction a one-day might cost an owner 6 month of revenue instead of one day's revenue.

#3 Early Selection of Surfaces  

In sports facilities, materials used for field surfaces are often specific to a sport. Gymasts, for example, need mats and spring floors while Ballerinas require slip-control rolled vinyl or hardwood floors. Football fields  need either artificial or natural turf while Tennis courts could be clay or a hard court made from macadam or concrete. It's important to discuss all the surface requirements for buildout during preconstruction as it can change the architects design or the general contractors building approach significantly.

Large sports facility construction demands a partner with knowledge of sports facility architecture design, acumen for the unique needs of sport complexes and experience delivering a structure that matches the unique needs of the business that will operate in the new space.


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Constructing a sports facility comes with its own set of unique challenges. From design and timing of delivery to precision requirements for everything from surfaces and lighting to dimensions and even spectator seating, large sports facility construction demands the right partner. A development group with knowledge of sports facility architecture design, the unique needs of sporting venues and experience delivering a structure that matches the unique needs of the sports business that will operate in the new space. Altis Capital excels at sports facility development and is always looking for opportunities to help gym owners realize their big league dreams.

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