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Renovation Don’ts


Renovations are complex and lengthy processes, but necessary for success — every club needs to keep its facilities fresh. However, no renovation project goes off without a hitch, and without a clear plan for executing your vision, the road can get bumpy.

As you’re planning your next project, these renovation “don’ts” can help make the whole process smoother:

Don’t Trust Looks Alone

“Do your homework and as much research as possible when selecting new building products and finishes,” said Bryan Lennon, the general manager of Cooper Fitness Center. “Finding a product with the look and feel we want, that also holds up to high usage, can be tricky at times.”

For a second opinion, you can consult equipment and design experts from around the industry. “Ask your equipment and facility vendors to brainstorm with you,” suggested JoAnna Masloski, the COO of Wellbridge. “Describe your ‘why’ and let them tell you what others are doing, why they’re doing it and what the results were.”

In the past, Cooper Fitness Center has found out that looks can be deceiving, and its staff has since done its due diligence in overcoming that challenge.

“During one of our past renovations we used a flooring product that was very new to the market and looked great when first installed,” shared Lennon. “However, for the past few years, the product has not held up as well as expected and promised by the manufacturer.”

Now, Lennon and his staff focus more on functionality. “As we look to replace this product, we are being much more diligent about selecting a product that will hold up to the normal traffic and usage patterns of our facility, while still meeting the high-end look and feel we want to provide our members,” said Lennon.

Don’t Ignore Feedback

“Workout in your spaces to get a feel for how your members are currently utilizing them,” suggested Masloski. “Respect their flow and needs, but also picture your ideas for renovation and how that flow might change upon your renovation.”

The member lounge at Wellbridge.

According to Masloski, simply observing how members use certain areas can yield insights into how they can best be improved. “Understand and respect why an area was originally designed the way it was,” said Masloski. “That doesn’t mean you have to stay with it, but in many cases, there was good reasoning for it. Knowing that might help you renovate even better.”

The best way to guarantee good results is to know what products and features will resonate most with members, while lasting for years. Checking off both boxes is ideal.

“We strive to use quality products that our members expect and that also function in a fitness and wellness environment,” said Lennon.

And while member feedback is important, it’s also easy to get swept up in your members’ hype about something new, just for the sake of having something new.

“Take your members’ feedback into account, but make sure you document the actual number of members you believe will have the desired reaction, rather than the emotion and excitement behind something new,” said Masloski.

Don’t Think Short-Term

An important step in the planning process is determining which products are the most durable, and which design features can age well. “Understand your vision, mission and percentage of impacted members or guests,” said Masloski. “Does that change make long-term sense?”

Both Wellbridge and Cooper Fitness Center have made planning for long-term success and durability top priorities, especially in highly-trafficked areas.

“We’ve changed from rolled flooring products to tiles, to anticipate future replacement of any flooring that is damaged over time,” said Lennon. “We continually source long-lasting flooring products for our facility while still providing the high-quality look and feel our members have come to expect.”

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former assistant editor of Club Solutions Magazine.

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