To ensure a solid foundation of information about the needs and preferences of all of the people who use Kinsmen, or may use in the future, extensive consultations were undertaken to ask Edmontonians their thoughts.
The following groups were consulted:
- City of Edmonton / Kinsmen Sports Centre staff
- Organized groups who use the building (and groups who do not)
- Members of the general public
City Of Edmonton Staff Consultations
A wide range of City and Kinsmen Sports Centre staff members was consulted including civic events planners, booking and reservations staff, front desk staff, programming staff, operations and maintenance staff.
Key Messages from the Staff:
- Building Access: The front steps form a barrier for some people. Once inside, the configuration of the front desk creates a bottleneck to entry and exit.
- Improved communications: Some further streamlining and coordination of the computerized reservation systems would help users in making their bookings. Within the facility itself, a network of electronic display boards would be valuable to notify users of current bookings, upcoming events and general information.
- Space Management: Users need to be assured that they can actually use all of the space reserved for them. Clear definition of booked space is important, as well as enforcement.
- Storage: Storage space is at a premium at Kinsmen, and there are many users competing for it. More space would be much appreciated. In the meantime, a clear storage policy is essential.
- New Building Elements: Staff members were agreed that some specific improvements would greatly enhance the experience and use of the facility, including more multi-purpose rooms and more natural light (windows and skylights), particularly to “people areas” like child minding rooms.
- City of Champions: Edmonton has a proud history of hosting national and international sporting events, and the city wants this tradition to continue. Kinsmen Sports Centre is an important part of this initiative.
User Group Consultations
Kinsmen user groups were invited to meet the design team for personal interviews. Among them, these groups represented users of the aquatics wing, the field house and other areas such as the fitness and multi-purpose rooms. They discussed the ways in which their members used the facility, their future needs and their recommendations for improvements. The design team also met groups who do not currently use Kinsmen but may do so in the future.
Key Messages from the User Groups:
- A Unique Facility: For many of the groups, the Kinsmen Sports Centre is the only facility in Edmonton suitable for their high-performance training and competitions. This applies to both the aquatic wing (with its 50 m. swimming pool, diving pool and spectator seating), and to the field house side (with its indoor tracks and generous playing surfaces).
- Full-Service Sport Amenities: Most groups use multiple parts of the facility. Swimmers also use the field house and fitness areas, and many field house athletes use the multi-purpose rooms or pools.
- International Standards Required: Training programs and competitions require components such as the pools to meet current international standards. As these standards change and newer facilities make improvements, Kinsmen should be brought up to date.
- Training Access: Sport groups appreciate access to specific parts of the facility, including designated pool deck space, to follow their rigorous training schedules.
The final and most extensive part of the process was the public consultation, which had three components:
- A Public Open House which attracted approximately 85 visitors
- A Public Opinion Survey, available in person at KSC and online, which drew 663 responses
- A Web Log on the City of Edmonton website, which had 8 entries
A Profile of Kinsmen Users
The survey provided a cross-section of Kinsmen Sports Centre users.
Key points are:
- 75.7% of respondents use Kinsmen at least once a week, ranging from daily visits (3.7%) to weekly (17.8%).
- Kinsmen is a year –round facility. Among respondents, 97.7% use it in winter and 57.2% in summer, with fall and spring use in between.
- The typical visit is 2 to 3 hours long (52.9% of users).
- Individual users represent 51.7% of visits, compared to 45.5% for members of organized groups.
- In the aquatic wing, the most heavily used part is the 50 m. pool (44.5% of respondents), followed by the 25 m. Warm-Up Pool (40.7%) and the Teach Pool (19.9%).
- In the Field House, the highest use was in the weight room (35.7% of respondents) and the cardio area (33.6%). The upper and lower running tracks were next (28.8% and 35.4% respectively).
- The majority of people reported that their primary purpose for using the Kinsmen Sports Centre was individual fitness (54.3% of respondents), followed by training (46.9%), competition (33.8%), and recreation (29.1%). Others visited for coaching (9.8%) or as spectators (15.1%).
- Similarly, the highest benefit expected by users is health & well-being (75.0%). Other benefits were social interaction (44.2%), the opportunity to compete with others (35.9%), fun and enjoyment (49.8%) and skill development (48.7%). As the numbers show, many people expect to get multiple benefits from their visits to Kinsmen Sports Centre.
Key Messages from the Public Consultations:
- A Facility in Demand: There are heavy claims for time in the pools and field house from all groups, including organized high-performance groups, and individual athletes. These people range in age from less than 10 to more than 60, and they represent a variety of activities and skill levels. They share an affinity to the special qualities of Kinsmen Sports Centre as well as a serious dedication to their particular sport endeavours. Also, they all would like to continue to have access to their preferred parts of this facility at their preferred times.
- Main Entry: The entrance area is often crowded and too small for the traffic. The control desk is not designed to handle the volume of people.
Many people noted that after climbing all of the outdoor stairs to get to the entry, they have to go down the stairs again inside to get to the change rooms. A grade-level entry would be preferable.
- Fitness Facilities: Fitness areas are not large enough, and weight and cardio machines should be updated.
- Aquatic Facilities: Competitive swim groups noted that equipment such as the scoreboard and starting blocks need to be upgraded.
- Racquet Facilities: The racquets community spoke clearly in favour of international-sized squash courts with glass back walls and room for spectator seating. Tennis courts are appreciated, but they are heavily booked at peak times.
- Amenities: Many people asked for a hot tub in the pool area, as well as a steam room and/or steam room accessible from the pool deck.
Well-designed family change rooms are also greatly needed.
- Storage: More is needed for equipment.
- Architectural Quality: More natural light would brighten up the whole building, and big windows facing the river would be a nice touch. On the interior, the change rooms need a face lift.
- Maintenance: Cleanliness of change rooms, showers and all other areas is important to patrons.
- Access: The one-way road loop is inconvenient, requiring users to drive north across the river before getting to a southbound road.
- Parking: The free parking is appreciated, but the lots are overloaded at peak times (evenings and weekends) and during special events such as athletic competitions.