University of Missouri-St. Louis

St. Louis,

Recreation And Wellness Center Feasibility Study, Programming, Marketing Study Update, Referendum Support, Business Planning, And Design Review

In 2004, the University of Missouri-St. Louis selected B&D to measure the feasibility of developing a new recreation and wellness facility on campus. We were tasked with identifying the current success or lack of success of the university’s existing recreation and wellness facilities to serve the needs of the campus community; the target market of facility users; the degree to which demand existed for new recreation and wellness facilities on campus; the project concept, or exact mix of facilities and features which would be supported by target market demand; and the financial viability of the defined project concept. We completed a strategic asset valuation workshop, existing facilities tours, stakeholders interviews, focus group interviews, an off-campus health club market analysis, a demographic analysis, a review of peer and cross-applicant institutions, an Internet survey, a facility demand projection, a site review, and a financial analysis. We determined that adequate demand existed to justify construction of on-campus recreation and wellness facilities. Furthermore, demand for such an improvement was sufficiently strong to suggest the development of an entirely new facility, rather than merely renovations or additions to the existing Mark Twain Center. In 2011 we were re-engaged to update the market analysis, develop new building concepts, conduct site selection, and perform a detailed financial analysis for the same project. At the conclusion of the planning process, we recommended a new 90,000 SF facility as a dedicated recreation campus to be located in the campus core, adjacent to the Millennium Student Center. We also worked closely with the student referendum committee and assisted in a successful referendum campaign. In 2012 the university’s student body passed a new student fee which secured funding for the project. We also assisted the university in presenting the project to the University of Missouri System decision makers, who subsequently approved moving forward with the project.

Two years later we returned to campus to develop a business plan and conduct design reviews for the facility. Working with facility operator CENTERS, membership categories were analyzed to determine a recommended rate structure and revenue target for the first 10 years of operation. Additional revenue from facility rentals, guest passes, locker rentals, and other sources also were projected. For expenses, a detailed staffing schedule and organizational chart was created based on facility needs to outline all personnel costs. Non-personnel costs were projected according to CENTERS’ and our experience with similar recreation facilities. The final business plan document provided the university with a framework for the successful operation of an important new campus building. The 100,000 SF, $36 million Recreation and Wellness Center opened in 2015.


A campus-wide referendum on a proposed $21 million recreation and wellness center will take place in early November, according to a plan by facilities planning firm Brailsford & Dunlavey.