Every project is different, but for us, most projects follow a similar path. I'm oversimplifying, but here are the basics (if you want the long-version, click here):
- Client's start with a rough vision of what they need and want (including lists of arena features, goals to hit, challenges to solve, etc.).
- We sit down with them to dig deeper and get specific details documents (we call this a Programming Session).
- From there, we design a few concepts that fit their needs/wants into the available space, whether its a new building, remodel, or addition.
- After a general concept is chosen and approved, we move into the more technical design drawings that detail everything needed for city approvals, construction, codes, etc.
- Finally, the entire project moves into construction, where we remain involved from an administration standpoint, answering questions, attending site visits, removing roadblocks, and more.
Depending on the project, this entire process can take anywhere from 12 months - 24+ months, not including any breaks for financing, fundraising, significant scope changes or re-designs.
The Reisterstown Sportsplex, in Maryland, is a great example of a project we have about halfway through the process today. The current Sportsplex, opened in 2008, has a NHL ice rink and an indoor soccer/lacrosse field that provides recreation programs and family entertainment in Baltimore County. Additionally, the ice is shared by a number of organizations:
- Baltimore Youth Hockey Association
- St. Paul's High School Hockey
- Stevenson University Men's & Women's Hockey
- Worthington Valley Figure Skating Club
- Chesapeake Synchronized Skating Team
With only one rink and high demand - for ice as well as other recreation opportunities - the Sportsplex team decided it was time to expand their facility. Initially, their expansion plans included adding a second sheet of ice, with seating for 500-750 people. They wanted it to be a premier DIII facility, and a home to the Stevenson University hockey program. To support this new rink, they wanted 8-9 locker rooms and a dryland training area. And finally, to make the best use of the space, they wanted the facility designed to be multi-purpose so they could host basketball and volleyball during the summer.
Equipped with this list of facility features, we conducted a Programming Session with the rinks' leadership team plus leaders of most of the organizations that utilize the space, to better understand what each wanted in the expansion, and why.
Balancing Wants, Needs & Budget
We designed our Programming Sessions to not only help us learn about our client, but also to help rink owners and other program leaders learn about new trends and ideas for their rink. As specialists in rink and recreation facility design, we make it a priority to understand the industry and bring the latest research and opportunities to our clients. This value-added service is intended to provide additional options for the rink leaders to discuss and decide if any ideas align with their strategic plans.
In the Reisterstown Sportsplex session, we learned about their reputation for excellent ice and great customer service. We created a detailed list of the priorities for each of the primary organizations that would utilize the new sheet of ice most. They also shared some of the challenges they would like resolved, including rental space issues and the flow/traffic in their lobby area.
With this level of detail, we were then able to design preliminary concepts for their team to review.
Each design we presented showed a slightly different floor plan, giving options for square footage as well as cost savings. The fully-loaded option included the NHL Rink (85' x 200') ice sheet with 700 seats, a Pro-Shop, dryland training facilities, concession stand, skate rental, office, toilets, refrigeration room, a second player entry, locker rooms and a player lounge designated for the University hockey teams. Each additional concept scaled back slightly on the features in each space and the amount of square footage needed.
In the end, they settled on one concept which we've since modified slightly to align with their expectations. From there, we created a few renderings to visually represent the changes to their facility. And, this is how most projects progress - more or less. There's back-and-forth, and discussion, and evolutions that happen to get the designs 'just right'.
From here, we proceed into the technical drawing portion of the project, preparing the documents required for approvals and construction. With their goal of opening in the Fall of 2020, a lot of progress will happen over the course of the next 9 months. Stay tuned for updates!