James Develin Fitness Center: Making It Real

Introduction: James Develin Fitness Center: Making It Real

About: Hi! I'm Isaac. I'm a 15 year old maker can't keep my hands still. I aspire to show all other young people out there that you can be a great maker, no matter how old you are.

This Instructable is built upon a past Instructable that I created, The Develin Fitness and Community Center. As the name suggests, this is a fitness center project for James Develin.

While the last Instructable explained in stark detail the many unique features of my design and its environmental/community advantages, this Instructable aims to show how this design can be brought into the real world through diagrams, calculations, and a scale model. From these plans, the entire gym can be constructed in the real world.

Step 1: Gym Location

After a couple hours of research and calculations, I found a good-sized .88 acre lot in Tennesee. Its dimensions perfectly suited the unique shape of my gym, which needs around 5 acres to be built, and leaves the gym a large boundary of grass for visitors to enjoy. There is also enough extra space for a construction team to work. The whole lot overlooks a beautiful blue lake and is in a relatively quiet (but not too quiet) area, allowing gym patrons to enjoy their workout in a serene environment.

Step 2: Construction Site

I strategically placed the muster point in an area between the other 3 areas. This ensures that if in case of an emergency, all workers can get to a safe spot easily and efficiently. The material and trailer areas are easy to access and can transport materials to the gym foundation site effectively.

Step 3: Plumbing and Electrical Systems

I realized that in my initial plans I had not included an electrical/plumbing plan. I resolved this solution by adding a basement to the gym which workers can access by using the elevator. In this basement, all of the wires and pipes are easily accessible. There is also a furnace down here.

Step 4: Budget Estimate

In Tennessee it costs, on average, 100$ per square foot to build a house. The building has a floor area of 36000 square feet, making its construction and materials budget at least 3,600,000$. However, the gym needs a few special materials in order to be built. After calculating the rest of these materials, the entire budget of the gym falls at around 4,500,000.

Step 5: Building System #1: Structural

The gym's frame will be created from laminated veneer lumber (LVL beams) and covered with wood planks. The exercise machine room will be covered with cement board, which has a cool, clean look.

Step 6: Building System #2: Exterior Wall

The outside wall is mainly built from tempered glass supported with wooden beams. The wooden beams are mainly centered around the pool wall, which is walled with a large panel of glass. For areas not made of glass, brick is used and covered with stucco. The textured border on the wall, which is intended to help the blind find the entrance, is made of plastic.

Step 7: Building System #3: Roofing

Since the roof is a type of loft and doesn't cover the entire building, we can save materials. The roof is built from a framework of wooden beams with a panel of composite laid on top. On this base we can add the solar panels, which are connected through small gaps in the roof into the building and then sealed up to ensure that the building is enclosed properly and that heat is not let out through the roof. The sign consists of frosted acrylic backed with industrial grade LED lights.

Step 8: Construction Phasing

I planned out the construction goals and checkpoints carefully as to add checkpoints and clear goals.


August 1, 2021:
Workers begin transporting materials and machinery onto the site.

August 6, 2021: Construction commences; workers begin excavating the ground.

August 15, 2021: Pipelines are put into the ground to provide water to the facility. After the plumbing system is established, an electrical box is implemented into the structure.

August 23, 2021: A waterproof wooden frame is built into the hole around the utility lines in order for plumbers and technicians to easily access them.

August 30, 2021: The hole in the ground is filled with cement to create a groundwork for the gym structure, beginning with the floor and then the walls.

September 10, 2021: Melamine boards are attached to the ceiling of the basement. These boards are covered with fiberboard and reinforced with wood from the bottom, creating a sturdy surface for any weight on the first floor.

September 25, 2021: The construction of the frame for the first floor of the fitness center commences.

October 6, 2021: The pool area is built and the plumbing is tested. The water can be taken from the lake and then drained back in with a filter to ensure environmental friendliness.

October 18, 2021: Drywall is installed and covered with wood boards and plasterboard.

November 5, 2021: The beams that support the window panels for the pool are put up.

November 15, 2021: The building of the second floor begins.

November 16, 2021: The frame for the second floor is built. The elevator is installed.

December 4, 2021: The drywall is installed on the second floor and finished similarly to the first floor. The fence going around the boundary of the second floor is added.

December 20, 2021: The roof of the second floor is finished, including the slanted roof panel.

January 10, 2022: Windows are added to the gym.

January 20, 2022: Toilets and sinks are added to the bathrooms.

January 31, 2022: Lighting is added to the building. Solar panels are installed onto the roof.

February 20, 2022: The floor is laid down.

March 5, 2022: Furniture and COVID-19 stations are moved into the facility. Exercise machines are also added.

March 20, 2022: A patch of synthetic grass is added to the roof of the building. Plants are moved into the nature hallway.

April 2, 2022: A final test run of the building is done.

April 5, 2022: The gym officially opens.


As you can see, this plan is efficient and makes use of the environment around it. It also makes sure that each of the features in my design is built safely and seperately from the other features.

Step 9: End

It was interesting to see the different types of materials used in construction and discovering how construction phasing works. It was particularly satisfying to know how to recreate my gym in real life!

I hope that this research and guidance are useful to Mr. Develin and that the work of the competitors in these 3 competitions provided important information and ideas for his plans.

Thank you for reading my instructable!

Make it Real Student Design Challenge #3

Runner Up in the
Make it Real Student Design Challenge #3

Be the First to Share


    • Sculpt & Carve Challenge

      Sculpt & Carve Challenge
    • Meatless Challenge

      Meatless Challenge
    • Fabric Challenge

      Fabric Challenge