The biggest lesson learned at Medina and Longmont's fitness centers inside their new recreation centers was to make them bigger.
"If there's one thing we could change, it would be the size of the fitness facility. We have about 20 pieces of cardio, free weights and select-drive equipment, and it's really tight in there," says Troy Houtman, facility supervisor for the Longmont Recreation Center.
"It's a matter of trying to change the peak times and encouraging people to come during the non-peak times. We talked about doing an extra charge for daily drop-ins at that time, but found it would be difficult to monitor that, and it would have been falling away from our philosophy of keeping it simple and providing good customer service at good prices."
Houtman says peak times are typically 6-8 a.m., and 4-8 p.m. To help ease these peak times, the fitness center's hours have been extended and the word is out.
Medina's recreation center has the good fortune of a topographical profile that slopes away from the building. Kenn Kaminski, director of parks and recreation for the City of Medina, says they took advantage of that by building a rounded outside wall that can be expanded, if necessary.
"We built that so that you have a huge glass wall, a support wall, then glass and a support wall. All we have to do is take out that glass to expand that room," says Kaminski.
In another space-conscious move that's also a source of convenience for patrons, they built storage spaces for people to keep their keys, water bottles and towels.
Kaminski found, through researching the experiences of other recreation centers, that they should have a lot of cardiovascular equipment.
"We found that free weights are being minimized. We have a gym here in town that is predominately free weights, and that's one reason we kept it fairly small. I don't want the 300-pound muscle guy screaming and yelling with grandma on the other side of the wall," says Kaminski.
Kaminski also narrowed equipment choices down by finding which equipment was rarely used, such as the oblique and hip abductor machines.
A lot of the newer machines can be a bear to figure out, so Medina's fitness center includes televisions that run training videos for all the machines.
"While some patrons are happy to come up and ask you how to do it, some would never do it, so they can sit at our two televisions and see how to use the equipment. The new equipment is pretty intimidating these days," says Kaminski.