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Creating an Indoor Sports Facility With Tension Fabric Structures

Schools and colleges are faced with the challenges of limited budgets for capital expenditures. One of the first casualties is often space for sports training and events, or for indoor physical education classes and other activities that require large open space such as school festivals and fairs. One solution for educational institutions looking to expand such spaces are fabric building structures. These buildings, also known as tension fabric structures (TFS), which can be used as either temporary or permanent facilities, have many of the qualities of regular buildings, but are available much faster and for a fraction of the cost. They can be rented or leased, making them an easy choice when capital improvement budgets are out of reach.  And their versatility makes them an excellent choice for use on almost any site and for a wide variety of venue needs.

What Are Tension Fabric Structures (TFS)?

Tension fabric (or tensile) structures are made by stretching an outer fabric cover, using cables or wires, over a rigid aluminum frame. The fabrics are weather resistant, but may also allow natural light into the structure. TFS can be constructed in custom lengths and widths, depending on need, and include a variety of options, such as entry doors, climate controls and so on.  The strength of the aluminum frame and professional installation that fixes the structure securely to the site assures the stability and durability of the TFS in any climate or weather conditions, and allowing it to easily and safely handle just about any kind of sporting and entertainment events.

Versatility of Tension Fabric Structures for Many Applications

Tension fabric constructions are used widely in industries as agriculture, environmental remediation, aviation, mining, warehousing and storage, and by the military and government for a variety of uses. They are an excellent building choice wherever sturdy, all-weather structures are needed, including for difficult or remote locations or where permanent building construction is not a solution.

Perfect for use for many event venues, they also provide flexible and cost-effective space for sporting events, concerts, trade shows and retail outlets. Tensile structures are increasingly used in universities, schools and colleges as a cost-effective way of extending their available space for sports.

Advantages of Fabric Building Structures as School Sports Facilities

Sporting facilities require large open space that both provides ample room for training athletes and delivering exciting competitive events, but also can assure shelter for sports participants and spectators alike from sun, wind, snow, rain or other harsh weather. The tension fabric building’s open floor space and high ceiling provide an indoor-outdoor feel while delivering all the benefits of a regular building, including climate controls and capability for sound systems, banners and lighting.  For this reason, they are the structures of choice for many schools seeking to house their school sports facilities in a space that is not only good for the budget but also provides a comfortable, open and uplifting environment for training and competition.

Tension fabric buildings are resistant to wind, rain, snow and ice and so are effective solutions in any climate or location.  Easily installed, since no foundations are required, they are nevertheless designed to meet area building regulations. They are long-lasting, and extremely budget-friendly when compared with traditional brick and mortar buildings.

school sports facility tennis court covered by tension fabric buidlingThe TFS is also readily expandable and flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of sporting needs. They can be structured to accommodate soccer or football fields, tennis or basketball courts, as well as general purpose gyms. They  can be built to serve as shelter for indoor swimming pool facilities.

All types of artificial turf, hard flooring or even natural grass can be used safely and effectively with TFS.

The frame of a tensile structure is strong enough to support scoreboards, lighting and sound systems as required and, if desired, can be configured so that on pleasant days the walls can be removed for healthy natural ventilation.

Doors, windows, skylights and removable walls can all be fitted according to specific requirements, and these structures can also be equipped with heating and air-conditioning systems.  The fabric used may also be fitted with insulation material in order to mitigate heating costs.  It also provides great protection against harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun.  

Year Round Use for Indoor Sports Activities

Protection from weather and climate is a great advantage for players, coaches and indoor swimming pool facility protected by fabric buildingspectators.  Players can get to practice and play their chosen sport the whole year round, giving them the maximum opportunity for the development of necessary skills, athleticism and fitness. Game cancellations due to weather can be minimized.

Not only does this increase participation rates, to the benefit of student health, but for universities and colleges in particular being able to assure spectator comfort is also a great way to attract the maximum possible audiences for events.  The spectator’s experience is also enhanced by the absence of internal pillars and support structures which might otherwise obstruct their view.

Explore a Tension Fabric Structure as a Solution for your School Sports Facilities Needs

Configurable and portable, tension fabric structures are easily transportable by crane or truck and can be quickly installed once arrived on the site, usually in a matter of days.  Structures are available for lease or purchase and can be configured and dispatched quickly upon receipt of your order specifications.

If your school, college or university is faced with a shortage of athletics space, consider TFS as either an interim or long-term solution to your sports facilities space problem.  Contact Allsite today to discuss your school or organization’s sports facilities needs and find out how a tension fabric structure can help fulfill them.

Author Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan is a Business Development Manager at Allsite, with degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and 14 years experience in matching customers with Tension Fabric Structure solutions. Read more about Peter and the rest of our team at

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