Space Planning Guidelines for Campus Recreational Sports Facilities

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Whether you need to make a case for new, improved, or expanded facilities or just want to see how you stack up against other schools, you’ll find the information you need in Space Planning Guidelines for Campus Recreational Sport Facilities.

The book offers the latest research on campus recreational sport facilities. NIRSA contracted the National Research Institute for College Recreational Sports & Wellness to survey experienced campus recreational sport administrators from nearly 200 U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities, asking not only for an inventory of existing facilities but also for opinions on whether those facilities were adequate in meeting the needs of their campuses. Those data were used in developing these space-per-student facility planning guidelines.

Space Planning Guidelines for Campus Recreational Sport Facilities presents the guidelines in a simple chart format so you can quickly and easily find the information that applies to your campus. All of the data are cross-referenced by facility type and total enrollment or school size. Guidelines are given for five facility types:

  1. Total indoor space, including court and racket space and locker room space
  2. Fitness facilities, including cardio equipment space, free-weight and strength equipment space, group exercise rooms, and multi-use spaces
  3. Climbing and outdoor adventure facilities, including climbing walls and trip equipment storage space
  4. Aquatic facilities
  5. Outdoor sport facilities, including fields and courts

The book also provides a wealth of information that will help you make the most of the guidelines. You’ll be given detailed instructions for applying the guidelines and a list of factors to consider when applying the guidelines so that you can be sure that the specific needs of your institution are being met. A companion Web page,, offers links to current field and court specifications and diagrams from numerous national associations so that you can plan for both indoor and outdoor sport spaces. You’ll also find photos from some of the 2008 NIRSA Outstanding Sports Facilities Award winners. These facilities represent some of the best found on campuses today and can provide a starting point for your own facility projects. Space Planning Guidelines for Campus Recreational Sport Facilities is the perfect resource for anyone beginning the process of planning for new or expanded facilities. Its comprehensive, research-based guidelines will help you ensure that you’re adequately planning for the needs of your campus community.

About the Author

NIRSA is the leading resource for professional and student development, education, and research in collegiate recreational sports. Headquartered in Corvallis, Oregon, NIRSA was established in 1950 at a meeting at Dillard University of 22 African American men and women from 11 historically black colleges and universities. NIRSA now has nearly 4,000 highly trained professional, student, and associate members throughout the United States, Canada, and other countries. NIRSA members serve an estimated 5.5 million students who regularly participate in campus recreational sport programs. NIRSA’s mission is to provide for the education and development of its members and to foster quality recreational programs, facilities, and services for diverse populations. The association’s commitment to excellence is shown in its use of resources that promote ethical and healthy lifestyle choices.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Recreation on College and University Campuses
Chapter 2: How to Use This Book
Chapter 3: Applying the Space Planning Guidelines
Chapter 4: Planning Guidelines Organized by Facility Type and Institutional Enrollment
Chapter 5: Comparing Existing Facility Space with Planning Guidelines
Appendix A: College Recreational Sports Existing and Recommended Facility Space: Project Results 2007
Appendix B: Planning Principles for College and University Recreation Facilities
About the Editor
About the Contributors

Words of Praise

“The authors have created a consistent application of methodology in a publication that all in the field of campus recreation can use and refer to as we design facilities for maximum efficiency.” — George Brown, director of university recreation University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa


A reference for campus recreational sport directors, college administrators, or other staff responsible for planning campus recreational sport facility projects or for architects or consultants who work with colleges or universities. A supplemental textbook for students in facility management, planning, or design courses.


Open to download resource.
Open to download resource. Whether you need to make a case for new, improved, or expanded facilities or just want to see how you stack up against other schools, you’ll find the information you need in Space Planning Guidelines for Campus Recreational Sport Facilities.