05 August 2015 // Thoughts

Deconstructing Capacity – Capacity by the Numbers

When we were researching this post, we found in our desks the article Design and Planning Cheat Sheet, written by our friend, Jim Higashi, Executive Vice President ProFun Management Group and Principal of Management Resources. We’ve already tackled the concepts of design days and peak months, but we’re going to take a couple of tips from Jim’s playbook on how to explain size and scale to a client.

When explaining how big something is to a client, consider the following examples:

  • Boxing Ring = 324-576 square feet (~32-58 square meters)
  • Basketball Court = 4,700 square feet (~470 square meters)
  • Hockey Rink = 17,000 square feet (~1,700 square meters)
  • American Football Field = 57,600 square feet (~5,760 square meters)

Remember, when breaking this down into hectares and acres, 10,000 square meters = 1 hectare = approx. 2.5 acres.

So now you have a sense of how big certain spaces are, but how much circulation space should you allow per person? According to Jim, the following guidelines apply:

  • Theater seating: 12 square feet per person
  • Exhibit viewing: 16-25 square feet per person (depending on how close the person needs to be from the exhibitry)
  • Queue lines: 5-7 square feet per person
  • Elevators: 2-3 square feet per person depending on ride time
  • Retail: 24 square feet per person
  • Restrooms: 36 square feet per fixture

In general, plan on allotting 65% of your total space to circulation.

In addition to people, it is imperative to allot the proper number of parking spaces for your theme park or attraction (no place to park = people turning around and heading home or to a competing attraction). The standard number of automobiles per acre is 110, and the standard number of busses is 25. Your ratio of busses to cars will most likely be determined by your feasibility study: whether your attendance tends to be via groups or those “free-in-transit” (i.e., with their own vehicles).

None of these numbers should be used as definitive figures, but hopefully they serve as a helpful guide in communicating the magnitude of a project to your client.

Many thanks to Jim Higashi for putting these numbers in perspective. We hope you now have a better sense of determining capacity for your project and have enjoyed our month-long look at feasibility.

From “Feasbility July”, we shift to “Operations August”.  What is operations, and how do your design and operations teams work together? How do you prepare operationally for Opening Day, and how do you keep your attraction looking fresh? These are the topics we’ll be tackling over the next two weeks.  Thanks for reading!