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Guest Column - October 2017

Locker Rooms

On-Trend Locker Room Design

By Valerie Bonney


Locker room design has vastly improved over the past few years. With sturdier construction, improved storage options, layout flexibility and higher aesthetics, lockers have become "brand centerpieces" within all types of recreational facilities.

Today's best locker room designs are ones that address patrons' functional needs while being easy for staff to clean and maintain over the long haul. The following are trending strategies for creating locker rooms that cater to the most discerning users—as well as facilities that house them.

Privacy in Showering & Changing

A higher level of user comfort and privacy has emerged in locker room design. User preferences for privacy have influenced specifications for showers, changing areas and restrooms that adjoin locker areas. Eliminating sightlines and gaps from these areas is one approach. More recreational facilities—especially ones used by student-aged athletes—are incorporating individual shower stalls (versus gang-style showers), including stalls with the size capacity for removing clothes, showering, toweling off and getting dressed, all without having to leave the space. Providing users private or semi-private changing areas in both wet and dry areas is another option.

More facilities are also catering to patrons who don't want to shower at all by providing locker cubbies within fitness rooms and pool areas to hold personal items. As for restrooms, incorporating zero sightlines and longer partition doors and panels enhance feelings of privacy and comfort.

Balancing Privacy With Security

While privacy is desired by many users, it is also important to offset these designs that foster seclusion with safety and security mechanisms. Sometimes too much privacy—which can mean less visibility—makes it difficult for staff to monitor vandalism attempts and other unwanted activity.

As for securing lockers, a variety of locking devices can be specified and should be selected based on clientele, usage and needs of the facility. Common lock options include:

  • Built-in key lock or combination lock.
  • Card lock, which uses a card lock located inside the locker door.
  • Keypad lock, which uses a keypad lock on the front door and is locked and opened with a PIN.
  • Coin return lock, where the user inserts a coin to secure the locker with the key. When the lock is opened with the key, the coin is released.
  • Coin retain lock, where the user inserts a coin to secure the locker with the key. When opened with the key, the coin is retained in a collection box secured with a master key.
  • Combination padlock.

Locker Materials With Longer Lifecycles

As the functional focal points of locker rooms, choosing locker material that is aesthetically pleasing and high quality is key. Compared with metal lockers that become dented, rusted, and need repainting and replacing, solid plastic stands up to years of usage, as well as humid and wet environments. Constructed with durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic that contains up to 100 percent post-consumer recycled content, these sustainable lockers are easy to clean, and resist odors, impact, dents and scratches.

Plastic lockers also create a quieter user experience, as they don't slam loudly like metal. There's also a significant cost difference between plastic and metal lockers. Plastic lockers have a higher initial cost, but have a longer lifecycle and are more cost-effective than metal since they don't need painting, door replacement, or other maintenance that requires downtime and costs. Plastic lockers also carry a 20-year warranty against rust, corrosion, denting and delaminating.

User-Focused Locker Configurations

Locker units come in a variety of designs and sizes for storage needs. During selection a careful analysis of user and facility needs is helpful. For locked storage, there are several space optimizing options. Stacked "Z" lockers are designed to give each locker additional height, allowing more hanging space for clothing and bags. Many recreational facilities use the "Z" design to achieve efficient multi-tiered storage.

When more space is needed for athletic gear and bulky equipment, look for solid plastic locker designs that are wider and deeper than standard-sized lockers—some designs can provide up to 30 percent more space. This type of locker is designed with a built-in seating area, open-faced closet area for clothing and equipment storage, and lockable storage areas, including a large foot locker for bulky gear and standard cubby locker. For even more storage, the space beneath locker benches can incorporate built-in lockers.

Locker manufacturers also offer made-to-order options, such as slope and flat locker tops, filler panels, engraved logos, number plates, coat hooks and mesh doors to address various facility needs and requirements.

Beyond physical design attributes, locker rooms also must be regularly cleaned, sanitized, vacuumed and mopped. Keeping lockers, floors, countertops and restroom surfaces clean—and dry—helps to eliminate slips and falls and dirty germ-ridden touchpoints. Speaking of germs, in restrooms, consider using touch-free washroom accessories to keep germs at bay and help curb vandalism. Using sensor-operated faucets, flush valves, soap dispensers and hand dryers can help minimize cross-contamination from users' hands. Touchless fixtures improve hygiene in the restroom and the rest of the facility, as users leave the restroom area and enter other parts of the building.

Touchless hand-washing fixtures are also easier to keep in good working condition. "Hands-free" design helps reduce everyday wear and tear, and extra costs by controlling product usage with an automatic shutoff, and vandalism attempts like leaving a faucet running or making a mess with soap or paper towels.

Above and beyond good locker room design, consistent maintenance goes a long way in showcasing locker rooms, optimizing their functionality and keeping patrons satisfied for the long haul.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Valerie Bonney is the product manager for Lenox Lockers and Mills Partitions for Bradley Corp. of Menomonee Falls, Wis., a USGBC member and manufacturer of locker room products, plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, partitions and emergency fixtures. For more information, visit www.bradleycorp.com.