Endurance athletes may have a new place to call home for their training if Jarod Cogswell has anything to say about it.
The general manager of ClubSport Oregon is overseeing an $800,000 remodel of about 12,000 square feet of the 145,000-square-foot athletic resort. The remodel is expected to be completed in mid-November.
The club’s 16,000 members include a lot of families, he says, but it also includes a strong population of athletes, mainly on the endurance side.
“We have a good relationship with them,” Cogswell says. “So, as we have continued to forge forward on fitness, we developed some programs that were more functional and geared toward the athletes.”
The facility already offers the Edge Performance Training Center, a sports performance training area, but the remodel will include a 500-square-foot high-altitude training center that will allow users to exercise in simulated altitudes of up to 21,000 feet. It will be one of the first high-altitude facilities in a health club, Cogswell says. The remodel also will add a 500-square-foot Computrainer studio where cyclists can ride their own bikes on more than 200 simulated routes in an indoor, consistent environment. The remodel will convert part of a basketball court into a cardio area with 22 new pieces of cardio. The other part of the court will be a performance strength training area. The remodel also will include a stretch and core area and more group fitness studios.
Cogswell and Ralph Rajs, vice president of operations at Leisure Sports Inc., Pleasanton, CA, which owns and manages ClubSport, visited several college and sports facilities—including facilities at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon and the Portland Trail Blazers—before determining which elements to include in the remodel.
The main goal of the remodel is to attract more of the triathletes, runners, cyclists and other endurance athletes in the Portland, OR, area and beyond.
“There’s going to be more emphasis on the endurance athlete,” Cogswell says. “We see this as an opportunity to bring in athletes from all over.”
He says that moving more into endurance athlete training is a new concept for the industry.
“We are looking at this as us being ahead of the curve rather than just a follower,” Cogswell says. “I’ve shared this with industry people, and they share in our excitement ... There are a lot of niche-type facilities out there, but we are able to have this all under one roof.”
In order to attract these athletes, ClubSport is implementing a vigorous training program for its trainers so they understand how altitude affects the human body and so they have Computrainer certified coaches.
The high-performance training area will feel more like a gym field house than a club, Cogswell says. Members who want to work out in a higher-end club environment can still do that on the club side, but those who want to train for their competitive sports can come to the field house side.
Cogswell expects a return on the investment within two years.
“For us, we want to stay at the forefront, so in two years, we want to not only make that money back and stay profitable, but also build the next latest and greatest thing,” he says. He is still researching how much to charge for use of the high performance training area, but he says he wants to ensure it is affordable so the club can get high volume use out of it.
The Portland ClubSport is the first of the five ClubSport facilities to venture so deeply into endurance athlete training, although some of them have smaller versions of the Edge studios, Cogswell says. However, if this facility proves successful, he anticipates other ClubSports could add to their offerings—and the company might even invest in some satellite facilities.
Leisure Sports was ranked No. 19 on Club Industry's Top 100 list this year with $72.9 million in 2010 revenue. In 2008, ClubSport Oregon made $12 million in revenue, which was the second-highest revenue generated by a ClubSport facility that year, according to the Leisure Sports website.