Every facet of society seems to be benefitting from the plethora of technological innovations being introduced almost daily. Even gymnasiums are impacted by changes in lifestyles and advances in technology. In the gym, the impact comes in the demand for floor space and the need to move gymnasium equipment more often and more quickly, which means a need for new types of gym equipment controls.

Gymnasium equipment manufacturers are addressing these needs with new ways to control their equipment.

Mashouf Wellness Center, San Francisco State University. Architect: WRNS Studio. Photographer: Jeremy Bittermann.

Years ago, gymnasiums were typically found only in local schools. Most schools had just one gym, and that gym had at the most six basketball backstops: two on the main court and four cross courts. The gym was used for home basketball games, occasional convocations, or school pep sessions, but was normally set up for PE class and basketball practice with all six backstops in the down position. During basketball season, once a week or so before a home game, the school janitor would go to the gym, fold the crosscourt backstops up toward the ceiling, and pull out the bleachers. After the game, the process was reversed. If the school was a little older, the backstops were folded with a manual winch and maybe a drill adaptor to make the process a little easier. New schools might have had electric winches that were operated using key switches. Since backstops were folded very rarely, changing gym configurations in this manner was acceptable.

Flash forward to today. Gymnasiums in schools are used for a wider variety of activities and a large array of different competitions. There are also commercial or so-called “pay-to-play” facilities popping up in almost every community to host AAU, club, and travel team competitions. Gyms at schools and private facilities are used for basketball, volleyball, dance teams, cheerleading, and social events like craft fairs, trade shows, and school dances. To accommodate all of these different types of events, gymnasiums now include many more basketball backstops, divider curtains, overhead volleyball systems, wrestling mat lifters, scoreboard lifts, and other types of ceiling-suspended electrically-operated devices.

Every gym has a huge number of teams and organizations that are vying for time on gymnasium floors and always need the space set up for their specific needs at the time they arrive. It has become increasingly more important to be able to change gymnasium setups often and with more speed.

Schools need to keep students and athletes active and avoid downtime in class or practice to get equipment set. And at commercial pay-to-play facilities that rent space, time required to change setups equates to less opportunity to earn revenue. Therefore, gymnasium controls have become more important, more flexible, and more sophisticated. Control systems have moved past individual key switches to keypads and touchscreens that, while maintaining safety requirements, allow faster and more efficient setup changes as well as group operation that meets facility needs.

To discover the many ways Draper has of controlling your gym equipment, click here to go to our website.

Please note: this content was taken from the draper continuing education course, “Taking Control: Planning for Optimum Gym Systems.” Click here to take the course at the BNP Media Continuing Education Center.

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