Sports halls are an important space in any school environment because they are a multi-use space where students of all ages can enjoy various games and activities. Dance studios, gymnasiums and fitness suites are also popular in school design, but sports halls are one of the most versatile spaces of all and require expert knowledge and design expertise to make sure they are fit for purpose.
At Pinnacle, we can take total design responsibility for specialist FFE packages, such as Sports Equipment. We simplify co-ordination and project management by having a single design contact for the entire FFE package, ensuring a more cohesive approach to M+E and IT integration.
In these series of blogs, we identify the key considerations to make when designing a sports hall, such as establishing the correct size for the space, key design considerations, and selecting the right equipment.
Establishing the Correct Size for Your Sports Hall
One of the first considerations when designing a Sports Hall is to make sure it’s the right size. This may sound obvious, but with a number of different considerations it can be easy to overlook certain requirements and end up with a hall that is either too small, and therefore unsuitable for the activities that need to take place in it; or too big, with a lot of wasted space.
Below are some key considerations to make when establishing the correct size for your sports hall:
It is important to understand from an early stage the sports and activities that will take place in the hall. Each sport or activity will have specific spatial requirements, which in turn will inform the overall space that needs to be allowed in the hall.
How it will be used
Another key consideration is how the hall will be used. For example, if the hall is to be sub-divided into different spaces then allowance will need to be made for a suitable means of doing so. This may be in the form of Division Nets, Rebound Screens or Acoustic Partitions, all of which have their own spatial requirements.
Access to each part of the hall should be considered. If the hall is to be sub-divided, then additional access points or circulation space may be required to prevent disruption to classes or activities taking part in other parts of the hall.
Levels of Play
The size and layout of a Sports Hall should relate to the level of play for each activity that is going to take place in it. Whilst this will largely be driven by the primary use of the hall, it is important to consider all sporting activities that may take place.
For example, it is quite common for Sports Halls to be hired out in the evenings for clubs or community use. Early engagement with these user groups will help to establish the level of play that they require so that this can be factored into the design, ensuring that hiring the sports hall is an attractive option for local clubs and the community. The level of play will typically dictate the amount of run-off space required around (or between courts), whilst there may also need to be an allowance for team benches or an area for officials.
The levels of play required within a Sports Hall can be broken down as follows:
This category relates to the lowest level of international play.
This category relates to a Premier / National League Club competing in regional or inter county competitions.
This category relates to a local club competing in District and County League competitions.
This category relates to school and community use where there is no formal competitive structure / no specific need for space for officials or spectator accommodation.
Note: Individual Sport Governing Bodies may use other terms for level of competition (e.g. Top Divisions, Local Leagues, Lower Divisions). Sports Governing Bodies also have their own specifications and classification system for sport facilities (e.g. FIBA Level 1 or Level 2 facility).
Modern Sports Halls often need to provide for a variety of other uses in addition to Sports. This may be in the shape of exams, school assemblies or theatrical performances, to name but a few. It is therefore important to consider these other uses when designing your Sports Hall to ensure that the space works just as well for them as it does for sport.
In the case of assemblies and performances, this may require Bleacher Seating to be included. Space needs to be allowed for the Bleacher Seating unit to be stored in, whilst the floor also needs to be suitable to support the weight of the seating units and allow it to operate. For areas where performances will be held, elements such as lighting rigs and stage curtains may need to be incorporated within the roof-space.
In certain cases, adjustments may also need to be made to allow for project specific requirements or design issues. These can include:
- Adjustment in the position of court markings to avoid conflicts.
- Structural grid requirements.
- Mechanical and electrical installations.
- Location of light fittings in relation to the court markings.
In the UK, Badminton is often the sport which has the most influence over the design of sports halls. For this reason, the size of a sports hall is typically based on the number of Badminton Courts that it will accommodate.
A single Badminton court space is regarded as the smallest practical multi-sport space. Most school Gyms will be 1 or 2 court halls, whilst most school Sports Halls will be a 4-court layout.
For school projects, a minimum size of 34.5m long x 20m wide x 7.5m clear height is recommended by Sport England.
How Pinnacle can help
Our in-house experts can aid throughout the design process as we have worked on a variety on educational sport spaces. Our Project Consultant Mike Scott has over 10 years’ of experience in the design of Sports and Leisure facilities in an educational setting and standalone sporting facilities. Mike champions innovative solutions that provide better value for money and increase the flexibility of spaces. He has a specific interest in physically active learning spaces and inspiring movement
If you would like Pinnacle to help design your new sports hall, please contact us today! We are always keen to share our expertise and answer any questions you may have about designing your sports hall.