Guest Column - February 2011
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Locker Rooms

Locker Room Design Strategies
Durable Fixtures Enhance Image, Reduce Operational Costs

By Jon Villwock

Lockers: Plastic Makes Perfect

When comparing materials for lockers, metal lockers are proven to be a substandard product for locker rooms and pool areas because they cannot withstand the water and moisture in these environments. There's no surefire method to prevent them from becoming rusty, foul-smelling lockers.

In terms of durability, solid plastic lockers are an ideal solution because they are unaffected by moisture, humidity, chlorine or salt water and will not rust. The resilient plastic material also stands up to dents and impact that would easily damage metal lockers. The color in solid plastic lockers extends from the surface through the entire thickness of the locker, making scratches hard to detect. Graffiti can be easily wiped away with everyday cleaners, and they can even be completely cleaned out with a hose for fast washdown.

Plastic lockers are available in a range of colors beyond tired gray that can complement just about any locker room design. It's a good idea to coordinate the locker color selection with nearby fixtures such as toilet partitions, lavatories, flooring and walls to ensure that your restrooms and locker rooms have a cohesive, well-thought-out look.

Selecting plastic lockers not only promotes quality and durability, and reduces maintenance costs; it is also a wise environmental choice. Solid plastic lockers are made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), a plastic that uses post-consumer recycled content. Some manufacturers also offer a 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic option. Each locker is made from 500 recycled milk jugs that otherwise might have ended up in a landfill.

Better plastic lockers carry a 20-year warranty and will never need to be painted or stained. There are a number of different size configurations available to suit any application. In pool or fitness areas, it makes sense to provide cubby lockers where users can temporarily store belongings such as a towel. For locked storage, there are several space-saving alternatives to the traditional full-height locker. For instance, the space under locker benches can be maximized with benches that house built-in locker storage.

Stacked "Z" lockers are designed to give each locker additional height, allowing more hanging space for clothing and bags. The "Z" design stands out as an efficient way to achieve multi-tiered storage.

When more space is needed for athletic gear and bulky equipment, look for a locker design that is wider and deeper than standard-sized lockers. 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.