Facility Homework

So you you’re going to build a new facility for your camp business and you think that the next step is to contact an architect… That would seem like a logical next step, but you might be a lot happier with your finished product and its price tag if you insert one critical step before you contact an architect.

If you want ensure that this facility done right, here is your homework assignment: Write a case statement that describes the scope of your camp business and why you believe you need this new facility.

Doing this homework, before an architect is hired can make an exponential jump in the value of any conversation with design and construction professionals.

I don’t think that there is any worse feeling from a business decision than regret. If the homework assignment of a case statement seems daunting, you can follow the process outlined below and it practically writes itself.

Going through the design process without a case statement can help you to avoid design flaws like having an overhanging door to receive food deliveries provides the unwanted (but often used) short cut for people to move from the waterfront area into the dining room or discovering that the type of acoustics in your new multi-purpose facility makes everyone attending the camp musical feel like they have a hearing problem.

Making Your Case

What exactly is a case statement? It gives an architect or design/build professional the big picture about the purpose of your camp business and the physical spaces that support your camp programming. A case statement should contain the following elements:

• The camp business’s mission statement — what your camp experience is all about and the core values of those people who deliver your camp programming.

• A description of your current and future clientele’s needs, including age groups, special needs populations, and the type of medical care that is given on-site.

• Listing of current programming, including special events and traditions — if you have an open house for parents, a talent night for campers and staff members, and a long waiting list for the strength training and conditioning module, give plenty of details about what you want to provide for those programs.

• A wish list of new programming — a climbing wall for project adventure, a digital studio for campers to create multi-media productions, or more storage to keep up with the growing kayak demand should be included.

• Security concerns — do you have one central entry point, do the walking paths that campers use have adequate lighting, etc.?

• Who your neighbors are — do you need a buffer for some of the louder activities? Are the neighbors respecting your property?

• Your existing finance options for the new facility — are you looking for Green Funding, are you trying to attract a major donor, or do you just have a lot of questions about what your funding options might be?

• Master Plan that shows:

1. Existing camp facilities

2. Traffic patterns and pedestrian circulation

3. Parking

4. Storage

5. Signage

6. Undeveloped property owned or potentially owned the camp business

Gather Opinions

Before the case statement is written, ask for volunteers to serve on a facility focus group (often referred to as a building committee). Members of this group should include a variety of staff people who have first-hand camp experience specifically related to the facility that you hope to build.

Also, if you have a community advisory board, you’ll need a person in charge in the physical plant, and an expert on the finances of your camp operation. These people could provide the insights that would help you develop a case statement that provides the big picture for an architect to use as the context for the design of the new facility.

Don’t Re-Invent the Wheel

Learn from the success of other camp business owners. Even though you should also make site visits of other camp facilities that are similar to your proposed facility with the architect who you eventually hire, initially you can identify the burning issues that you might face that could make or break your own success.

Simply asking questions about what works and what doesn’t and make sure to ask, “If they had a chance to go back to the start of the project, what would they do differently?” will probably open the flood gates of insights that they wish they had known beforehand.

Page 1 of 2 | Next page

Related posts:

  1. Capital Improvements
  2. Lock it Up
  3. Up to Date
  4. The Right Stuff … And Getting It Done Before Summer
  5. Dream to Reality
  • Columns & Features
  • Departments
  • Writers