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Higher Education

Investment in Collegiate Athletic Facilities Expands Attraction, Retention, and Revenue Generation

The most successful educational institutions are continuously investing in new ways to attract and retain the next generation of students. College athletics promote school spirit and unity, which allows students to take pride in and feel connected to the higher educational endeavor. They also give historically underrepresented people a way to get an education at a reasonable price. Therefore, we must protect, preserve, and enhance the resources that ensure these opportunities.

College athletic facilities have received a greater focus of attention from administration and communities in recent years. Updates to these facilities show investment in the campus, community, and student population. It demonstrates the importance of the student-athlete experience and can target prospective students who may not otherwise have an interest in the college. In recent years, schools have made huge investments in improving their athletic facilities, many of which haven’t aged gracefully or weren’t designed to adequately accommodate modern-day conveniences.

The Competitive Advantage

In today’s competitive landscape, educational institutions are constantly looking for ways to attract and retain both students and staff. Investing in quality athletics facilities can improve your recruitment success rate by attracting top-level athletes, ultimately leading to stronger team performances. The resources these facilities offer are important considerations for many prospective student-athletes when deciding where to attend college. The result is not only a boost in morale among the athletics program but also an increase in the overall success and prestige of the college itself. The availability of these facilities will help student-athletes perform well on the field and allow them to achieve their full athletic potential while maintaining their academic pursuits.

The advantages of adding, improving, or enlarging school facilities go beyond athletics, too. Major sporting events can bring money for the school and the community, including attracting youth travel events. Indoor facilities provide year-round play, extending the playable season.

The Financial Benefits

Investing in campus sporting facilities can achieve long-term financial gains for institutions. Though it may require a substantial initial investment, improvements such as state-of-the-art gyms and indoor/outdoor sports fields can attract more students, especially those who value athletics. Colleges may generate more revenue and develop a more varied student body with a range of interests by boosting enrollment. Furthermore, bolstering athletics programs can improve a school’s reputation and make it a more attractive option for prospective students and donors. As universities look to compete with one another for recognition and funding, investing in athletics is becoming an increasingly important tactic for both financial and reputational gains.

Additionally, upgrading sports venues often increases attendance at games and other events. Due to enhanced sound systems, better lighting, and more comfortable seating options (among other characteristics), showcasing restored spaces can attract a larger audience. Increased attendance typically results in more ticket sales or merchandise sales for universities. This revenue generation helps to enhance university finances.

Funding Resources

There are grant and funding programs offered by the public and private sector for sports facility projects that you should be aware of. There are a few specific grants that colleges in the state of Ohio are eligible for including the NFL Foundation Grassroots Grant Program, for which funds can be allocated for artificial turf field surfacing, and the Molyneaux Foundation, which offers grant money for community recreational facilities development. Deadlines may vary. More information can be found here:

The MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation is another organization offering specific athletic funding. The YDF is a joint initiative by Major League Baseball and the Players Association to support efforts that focus on improving the caliber, effectiveness, and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the United States. The Youth Development Foundation supports capital projects such as field lighting, renovations, and construction. This organization only supports public schools. More information can be found here:

Teaming with local grant writers can help uncover a broader pool of funding options. Most architectural and engineering firms offer these resources and can help make connections along with assisting with the planning process for preliminary site and conceptual design. Firms that do not specifically specialize in athletic facilities often have partners with expertise in this arena. Connect with the right team to help kickstart your next project.

Funding Resources and Grants

  1. BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio PACE Financing - BetterBuildings Northwest Ohio (BBNWO) offers competitive fixed-rate Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for projects that focus on conserving energy and generating savings through energy efficiency retrofits to new and existing facilities. Eligible for new and existing buildings including industrial/manufacturing, commercial/retail, government/municipal, educational, healthcare, residential, and multi-family units. Eligible upgrades include lighting and building controls, HVAC, boilers and chillers, electrical distribution, power generation, and more. Please review the Lucas County Port Authority for more details. 

Key areas an architect/ engineer should be engaged to support commercial design

Site design or circulation for the building

Structural integrity

Façade improvements

Tenant Fit-outs

Electrical or mechanical upgrades

Building “change of use”

Building code compliance

Energy assessments or building envelope audits

The JDI Group can help with site, architectural, interior, and engineering design for Commercial Properties

Office - from single-tenant buildings to large corporate campuses

Retail - ranging from freestanding stores to multiple small shops in strip malls 

Industrial - properties including warehouses, distribution centers, and manufacturing facilities

Multifamily - properties are often designed for multi-use purposes including retail, office, or restaurants

Hotel - including various types of lodging establishments, of which site design is a crucial component that developers require local support

Special Purpose - properties including healthcare facilities, educational institutions, churches, and entertainment venues

Project Experience

Terra State Community College

Fremont, OH
The JDI Group provided an assessment and construction document design services for the Terra State Community College Math Lab renovation. Our team conducted an assessment of the existing math lab, assisted the owner with the Program of Requirements, and provided 100% construction design documents for the recommended math lab improvements. Interior renovations, finish updates, and new furniture layout and specifications were made to the 1,433 SF math computer lab (classroom A204).

JDI also provided furniture budget pricing for several commons areas located in several buildings on the Terra State Community College campus. JDI provided conceptual designs for furniture layouts, furniture specifications, finish selections, and budget pricing for the designated areas. 

Northwest State Community College

Archbold, OH
The JDI Group provided architectural services for the re-roofing of the Childcare Center at Northwest State Community College. Our team conducted field survey to confirm existing conditions, prepared specifications for replacement, developed bid drawings including scope and details and assisted with bidding and construction administration.

Our civil engineering team assisted NSCC with a parking lot renovation. JDI performed a topographic survey of the area of work, along with a visual observation of the parking area and curbing to determine specific locations that would required full depth replacement. Bid and construction packages were created including; site plans, details, erosion control and notes. Bid tasks included construction cost estimating, preparing the bid project manual, specifications, project advertisement, bid meeting, detailed review of bids and creation of bid tab and recommendation. JDI completed the project with visual observation of the subgrade after milling and final pavement installation.

The mechanical department assisted NSCC with a chiller replacement for Building E. Based on our analysis, the existing chiller was oversized and replaced with an appropriately sized unit. Our structural team modified the existing structural support to accommodate the new chiller.

As an enabling project for a future renovation, The JDI Group also designed a temporary executive office space within a former classroom. JDI led the planning and construction documents for this quick turn-around effort.

Our team was called back to lead a master planning and conceptual design exercise for a series of student experience improvements. The focus here was the TRIO academic advising and financial aid suites, creating a more accessible and inviting environment within the centralized student union.