With college students viewing participation in recreational sports programs and activities as a key determinant of college satisfaction, success, recruitment and retention, you can bet your bottom dollar that university recreation centers will continue building, expanding and renovating in 2006.

“As we know from our research, construction of rec sports facilities has been holding steady for the next 10 years, and we expect it to continue,” says Barry Brown, spokesperson for the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA), referring to the annual NIRSA Collegiate Recreational Sports Facility Construction Survey.

Conducted in December 2004, the study looked at NIRSA Member Institutions that recently undertook, are planning to undertake or completed new construction, remodeling and/or expansion of student recreational sports facilities between 2004 and 2010. A total of 333 colleges and universities reported involvement in facility planning, construction, remodeling, and /or expansion projects. Together, those 333 schools have a total student enrollment of 3.8 million with 2.85 million students participating in campus recreational sports programs.

“Students are demanding better facilities and are actually willing to pay for them,” says Brown. “They are even voting for an increase in student fees when facilities won't be built for years.”

Of the 333 participating total colleges and universities, 223 report that their construction projects will cost, on average, $14.2 million. Between 2004 and 2010, schools will spend $3.17 billion on new construction, additions, remodels and expansions, according to NIRSA research.

“Rec centers are being used for retention and recruitment. Colleges and universities are keeping up with the Joneses so to speak,” Brown says.