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Renovating Your Sports Facility

Welcome to the world of Parks and Rec! This week we sat down with staff from the award-winning Johnson Country Parks and Recreation Department to talk about one of their recently renovated indoor facility, Okun Fieldhouse. From storage challenges to flooring choices, this episode explores the nuances of planning and executing changes made to preserve and improve this community pillar. Discover the insights shared by the facility managers and gain a deeper understanding of the strategies employed to navigate the ever-changing world of community sports.

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Renovating a Legacy

In this comprehensive blog, we'll take you on a journey through the inner workings of the well-established facility, exploring the challenges faced, strategic decisions made, and the overall dynamics of managing a space that caters to various sports and events. Join us as we unpack the wisdom shared by the facility managers, shedding light on the intricacies of Okun Fieldhouse.

Covered in This Episode:

  • The History of Okun
  • Storage Spaces
  • Building Food and Beverage
  • Athletics Meets the Arts
  • Hardwood vs. Taraflex

Highlights and Key Moments:

  • "Storage might seem mundane, but it's the backbone of a clean and efficient facility."

  • "Our revenue isn't just from sports; it's about creating experiences for the community."

  • "Concessions are not just about food; they're about enhancing the overall event atmosphere."

  • "Training and developing our own officials ensure a higher standard of officiating for our events."

  • "In the world of facility management, the unseen details are often the most crucial."


The History of Okun

Okun Fieldhouse, a beacon of community engagement and sportsmanship, stands as a testament to the rich history and enduring legacy it has woven into the fabric of its surroundings. Established over two decades ago, this facility has evolved into a pivotal hub within the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District. Initially conceived as a space for diverse athletic pursuits, Okun Fieldhouse has weathered the sands of time, witnessing the triumphs and challenges of numerous sports seasons. The facility was named after a fallen young athlete who passed of a heart defect while playing a game of basketball. The dedication keeps her memory and motivation alive to the community. From its inception, the emphasis has been on providing top-notch facilities for basketball, volleyball, and youth programs, fostering a sense of camaraderie and healthy competition among community members. Okun Fieldhouse has become synonymous with more than just sports; it is a dynamic space that mirrors the growth, unity, and spirit of the residents it serves.


Storage Spaces

Because Okun Fieldhouse has been standing for so many years, it faces its challenges, of them being storage constraints. If the team could start fresh, one of the most pivotal changes they would make is adding adequate storage for the varying sports equipment needed to facilitate their diverse offerings. Allocating adequate space for storage is not merely an afterthought but a pivotal element contributing to operational efficiency and visual aesthetics. While typically the first thing cut from a project as it may not be perceived as a revenue-generating component, well-thought-out storage solutions significantly contribute to the overall cleanliness and appeal of a facility. Decision-makers must recognize the intrinsic value of dedicated storage spaces so that equipment doesn’t become a hazard in spilling out into playing spaces!


Building Food and Beverage

Okun Fieldhouse's approach to food and beverage management provides a compelling model for revenue generation within recreational facilities. With a keen understanding of the facility's diverse user base, the integration of an in-house concession stand has emerged as a significant revenue stream. The emphasis on offering consistent service while maintaining fair pricing, even amid challenges such as staffing shortages and inflation, showcases a commitment to balancing financial viability with customer satisfaction. A noteworthy aspect contributing to the facility's success in the food and beverage domain is the decision to run concessions in-house. This strategic move not only ensures better control over the quality of service but also allows for a more personalized touch in meeting the needs of event-goers. The financial impact of this decision is evident in the impressive uptick in revenue, with projections indicating a substantial increase compared to previous years. This success story underscores the potential financial benefits of strategically managing food and beverage services within recreational facilities, highlighting the importance of adapting to market conditions while prioritizing service quality to optimize revenue streams.


Athletics Meets the Arts

Looking to bring a fresh light to the fieldhouse, a call went out to local artist. The selection process for the mural artist was a competitive endeavor, involving many submissions and a thorough review of proposals. Icons emerged as the chosen artists, bringing a distinctly local flavor to the project. The mural, skillfully painted on the corrugated metal surface despite the challenges posed by weather and adjacent sports activities, is titled "Rebirth." The artwork seamlessly blends with the facility's unique location, adjacent to the Mid-America West Sports Complex and the Gary L. Hall Memorial Trail. This project not only added an aesthetically pleasing element to the facility but also deepened its connection with the community.

Hardwood vs. Taraflex

When faced with the decision between hardwood and Taraflex flooring for renovating Okun Fieldhouse, the facility management team demonstrated a pragmatic and forward-thinking approach. Acknowledging the traditional appeal of hardwood, the team weighed the pros and cons and opted for Taraflex as the flooring material. The decision was not solely cost-driven, although the significant cost savings were acknowledged. Instead, the choice was rooted in the durability and low-maintenance characteristics of Taraflex. Recognizing the wear and tear on the original hardwood flooring, the switch to Taraflex addressed the facility's immediate needs while also aligning with a broader strategy for consistency across similar facilities. This decision showcases a commitment to practicality, long-term sustainability, and a recognition of the benefits offered by modern flooring solutions, further establishing Okun Fieldhouse as a facility that prioritizes functionality and user experience.


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Thank you for joining us on this episode of Facility Playbook! We hope the knowledge shared serves as a valuable resource for facility owners and managers seeking to thrive in the ever-evolving sports industry. Stay tuned for our next episode, where we will continue to bring you expert tips to help you navigate the dynamic world of facility management

As we round out this exploration into Okun Fieldhouse, we hope this insider's perspective has provided valuable insights into the ever changing world of facility management. From storage solutions to revenue generation, every aspect plays a pivotal role in shaping the experience for the community.

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