In an era of shrinking budgets, school administrators shouldn’t neglect the revenue possibilities from turning a gymnasium into a multi-use facility.
By specifying the right gym equipment, you can maximize the use of your space and host more events, creating an additional revenue stream.
Here are five pieces of gym equipment that can make money for your school:
1. Mat lifters/folding backstops
If you want to make your gym a multi-use facility, the first thing to do is open up more space. Folding backstops can be winched up out of the way, getting them above the line of sight and creating room for other sports.
This is an advantage over portable backstops because it works quickly, and there’s no ground level storage space required.
Mat lifters can also be used to get rolled up wrestling mats up and out of the way, releasing valuable floor space.
2. Graphic wall pads
Wall pads exist primarily for safety, but they can also contribute to the bottom line. Set up long-term sponsorships with local businesses and donors in return for printing their logos on a wall pad.
Another idea is to hold a community contest to design the graphic for one or more wall pads. Charge for entries. The winning design can be custom printed on a new wall pad.
3. Gym dividers
The ability to host multiple events helps you get the most out of a facility. By using one or more divider curtains, you can make one large space into two or more smaller areas. This allows you to host more than one event at a time. You can also host sporting tournaments that require simultaneous games.
4. Volleyball equipment
Hosting volleyball events is another way to increase your revenue stream. When no volleyball is scheduled, the posts and nets go into storage while the floor sleeves are hidden away beneath cover plates. With adjustable height posts, you can host multiple net sports for different age groups.
You can also choose an OVS ceiling-suspended volleyball system that lowers from the ceiling and can be made ready to play in a matter of seconds. The fast set-up of this system allows you to go from another event to volleyball very quickly, maximizing the number of events in your space.
5. Height adjusters
The specification of basketball height adjusters allows you to use the facility for youth as well as adult competition and instruction. Height adjusters, which can be manual or motorized, let you adjust the level of the goal from 10 feet down to eight. We recommend using height adjusters on side and practice courts, and not on competition courts used for high schools, colleges, and above.
Choosing Gymnasium Equipment Manufacturers
As specifiers, facility planners or owners, there are many details that need to be addressed when developing specifications for a new school, recreational facility, family life center or other facility with a gymnasium.
One detail that is often overlooked is which manufacturers to list so you are sure to receive the desired type and quality of gymnasium equipment and related products for your space.
Currently there are eight recognized manufacturers of basketball backstops and many more “garage shops” that can “throw something together” to hang a backboard.
There are also numerous suppliers for gymnasium divider curtains, wall pads, volleyball equipment and related physical education equipment.
Quality and breadth of products and features can vary greatly, so how do you narrow down the list and choose manufacturers to list in your project specifications?
Following are points to help guide you through this process:
* List manufacturers who are active and locally represented in your area. Don’t allow a factory representative or dealer to “assist” you in preparing your specifications, then only list their company and others that are out of business or have never sold product in your vicinity. This unscrupulous practice serves no good purpose and should make you question the ethics of the person providing this so-called “assistance.” Look for future postings on the importance of local representation, but common sense tells you that a factory west of the Rockies cannot do projects on the East Coast without local representation.
* List manufacturers who can provide all necessary gymnasium products. Allowing local representatives or general contractors to piecemeal this equipment from multiple sources normally leads to added cost, coordination problems and owner confusion when future service or warranty issues may arise.
* Choose manufacturers that offer extended warranties. Don’t accept just a 1 year warranty. You should expect a lifetime warranty for backboards and warranties of 25 years on support structures, 5 years on winches and divider motors, 10 years on safety straps, 3 years on breakaway goals, 8 years on bolt-on edge padding, 10 years on volleyball posts and 5 years on volleyball winches. There are at least 3 manufacturers who offer standard warranties like these. Don’t do facility owners a disservice by accepting subpar warranties.
* List manufacturers that provide powder coat finishes and options for colors. Powder coat will insure the equipment looks like a finished product, arrives in good condition and will look good for years. Gymnasium equipment has evolved from “you can get any color you want as long as it is flat black primer.” Specifications should meet the need of the facility. Color options allow equipment to follow building schemes, match school colors or virtually disappear when folded against roof structure of the same hue.
* Accept only manufacturers that provide independent test results showing the strength and safety of their equipment. Hanging heavy gymnasium equipment overhead can lead to significant property damage, personal injury or worse if clamps and fittings fail. The best gymnasium equipment manufacturer can produce results from accredited testing agencies and calculated safety factors of at least 50 to 1. Do not accept equipment that may be unsafe.
By considering these points when developing your gymnasium equipment specifications and reviewing substitutions, your job becomes easier and the owner will have a safe facility that will provide years of trouble-free service.
This information is courtesy of Draper, Inc., one of the largest manufacturers of projection screens and related equipment in the world. In addition to projection screens, Draper manufactures highest quality projector lifts, gymnasium equipment, and window shades for sunlight control and room darkening, www.draperinc.com.