In a continued effort to offer timely information on construction cost for a variety of building types (see also cost of commercial construction per square foot and Cost Per Square Foot of Educational Facilities), I did some research on another project type that we frequently design: Community Centers. This is a unique project type that is often realized by local organizations or municipalities that may not have built anything like it before, and therefore could use some guidance.
Before embarking on a project like this, the communty will always want to know: How much will it cost to build our Community Center? We have industry resources available to get an index for what to expect in general based on project location. However, there are a multitude of variables that can drive the cost of construction, depending on the kinds of functions and services offered by the Community Center. Local economy is also a very important factor in construction cost as well as the type of construction you intend to build. The information available to us is based on an average of many projects across the country, and therefore represents a good index for a typical Community Center program. Note that in most cases, the cost of construction per square foot varies significantly with location.
Below is a table illustrating the average construction cost per square foot for Community Centers in different regions. All graph images are courtesy of RSMeans Construction Cost Data. Data source: Reed Construction Data – RSMeans/Charts: Reed Construction Data – CanaData
Once again, New York City tops the list on the high end at $192.47 per square foot. Winston-Salem comes in significantly lower at $110.54. This can be quite a range, and is dependant on both the labor markets as well as the local community culture that drives what the Community Center is supposed to provide for its constituents. As you can see from the chart, location alone can represent as much as 70% or more of the cost driver for this construction type.
The median for this type of construction falls between $140 and $150 per square foot. This is also consistent with our own data for similar projects that we have completed in the central and western regions of the country. It is critical to understand the cost drivers for a Community Center and how construction type and location are both variables that will drive your cost per square foot. These are always a part of the initial programming discussions and the Architect will play a huge role in helping to define the ranges of cost to expect for the project. If you are considering building a Community Center, we would be happy to discuss these important issues with you and help you to realize the kind of facility that you envision for your community.