CSCS Study Guide Chapter 23: Facility Design, Layout and Organization

Chapter 23 of the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning covers Facility design, layout and organization. Should you hire an Architect? This study chapter answers this and other training questions for the CSCS exam.

Chapter 23 of the Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning is about the design, layout and organization of a facility. Several professionals may be contacted in this process. The facility may be an existing one or, it may be constructed from the ground

Facility Design, Layout, and Organization

  • There are many steps in the design, layout and organization of a facility. Many of these steps are important for not only safety but, will ultimately affect the profitability and use of the facility.

General Aspects of New Facility Design

  • New facility construction takes a lot of time and planning. A committee of professionals should be established to aid in this process including a contractor, architect, designer, lawyer and the people involved in using the facility.
  • Predesign Phase - the first step in the process that involves a needs analysis, feasibility study, and the development of the master plan. An architect should be contacted at the end of this phase.
  • Needs Analysis - the step where the needs of the athletic program are determined.
  • Feasibility Study - this step safeguards the financial investment in the sustainability of the facility. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats should be evaluated as well as location and potential for growth.
  • Master Plan - the general plan for the design of the facility both short and long term. Includes the facility construction plan, design, budget and operational plan.
  • Design Phase - facility structure and design are formed in this phase by the committee. The flow of the facility should be considered alongside regulatory codes. The design committee should be finalized and work alongside the architect to produce a blueprint.
  • Construction Phase - from beginning to end of construction. Deadlines must be met as profits may be lost if timeline is extended. The cost of delay may be borne by the builder or architect. Losses may lead to the potential of a lawsuit.
  • Pre-operation Phase - fishing steps before the facility can be opened for operation. Finishing décor, hiring staff and determining processes for administrative and clerical duties.

Existing Strength and Conditioning Facilities

  • The process for existing facilities is the same for modification minus the construction phase from the ground up. A contractor or architect may not be necessary but, this varies.

Assessing Athletic Program Needs

  • The needs and requirements of the athletes and sport are the most important aspect of facility design and layout.
  • The following question should be able to be answered by facility designers:
    • How many athletes will be using the facility?
    • What are the training goals for the athletes, coaches, and administration?
    • What are the demographics of the athletes?
    • What will the training experience of the athletes be?
    • How will the athletes be scheduled?
    • What equipment needs to be repaired or modified?
  • The minimum recommended amount of space per athlete is 100 square feet.

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Designing the Strength and Conditioning Facility

  • The ideal strength and conditioning facility should be located on the ground floor away from classrooms and offices to prevent interruptions. If not the floor should posses a loading capacity of 100 pounds per square foot.
  • The facility supervising office should be located in an area that possess a clear line of sight and mirrors that allows the entire space to be observed.
  • Facilities should have large double doors for the delivery of large equipment.
  • The facility should be designed to be compliant with ADA standards for accessibility.
  • Ceiling height should be high enough to allow clearance for jumping and explosive activities. 12-14 feet should be sufficient for this and are recommended for comfort.
  • Flooring should also be considered, the most common being rubber flooring which can be easier to clean than carpet.
  • Lighting, humidity and temperature are important environmental factors that should be considered.
  • Music helps athletes get motivated and into a rhythm for hard work. Speakers should be placed high to avoid damage. Sound should not exceed 90 decibels so athletes can hear instructions. Sound absorbing material may be used to prevent noise from leaking into other areas in the facility.
  • Many outlets may be needed at higher voltages for equipment. These should protect athletes against shorts and power surges.
  • Mirrors should remain 6 inches from equipment and at least 20 inches above the ground. this will help prevent against damage as the standard weight plate is 18 inches in diameter.
  • Drinking fountains, phones, showers, bumper raining and storage space should also be considered.
  • ADA requires that at least one phone be accessible to persons in wheelchairs.

Arranging Equipment in the Strength and Conditioning Facility

  • Equipment may be grouped into sections to aid in flow, increase space utilization, and prevent congestion. The top two priorities are safety and function.
  • Barbells, weightlifting trees, equipment, racks and dumbbells require a minimum of 36 inches of space between other barbells and dumbbells not accounting for potential space needed for spotters.
  • A stretching and warm up area of at least 49 square feet may be desired.
  • A circuit training area may also be desired. If this is the case, machines should be grouped at least 24 inches apart from each other with 36 inches being preferable.
  • Safety Cushion - space between equipment that allows for safe walkway and the freedom of movement.
  • Racks and platforms should be spaced 3-4 feet apart.

Maintaining and Cleaning Surfaces and Equipment

  • Proper maintenance saves money in the long run. Bacteria will grow if surfaces are not cleaned often, especially those in high use areas.
  • During cleaning, bolts and screws that hold equipment together should regularly be checked and tightened. Carpets should be vacuumed regularly and walls and ceilings should be cleaned at least once every week or two.
  • Nonfunctional equipment should be labeled and removed from the floor if repair will take a while.
  • A cleaning and maintenance schedule may be established on a daily, weekly, biweekly or monthly basis.

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Steven Mack is founder and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist at the private training studio, Simple Solutions Fitness. He consults for Stronger by Science, a leader in fitness research dissemination, and is a former Mizzou football walk-on. Steven dedicates his professional life to helping people through his writing, speaking, and role as a personal trainer.