Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Successful Youth Sports Complexes in Small Communities
This thesis is an investigation into the makings of a successful youth baseball facility. Youth sports is a multi-billion dollar industry in the United States, and much of the competition follows a tournament, or "travel league" format. This is especially true in youth baseball. Despite this growing trend towards travel play, facilities that host these tournaments were designed and constructed in an age where the primary format was not tournament play, but rather a recreational structure where single games were played individually. These facilities do not meet the needs of the typical park user: players and their families. The parts of the following investigation are the Author's research, including a literature review and four case studies of facilities that are representational of a larger sample. This is followed by the identification of a list of universial challenges faced by many facilities which led to a development of a list of design criteria to correct the issue of under-performing parks, identification of a fundamental design question, and specific goals and objectives. Finally, identification of a site to be studied is introduced and analyzed, and the development of the Author's concept for a new design is reported and then analyzed. The Master Plan is then presented and discussed in detail. The master plan for the new Rockville School Park has been developed based on the list of design criteria developed by the Author, based largely on field research. A large effort was made to identify literature directly regarding the questions presented in this thesis. The literature used has been included within the references section at the end of this document.