Feature Article - May/June 2006
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Clean and Comfortable

Avoiding errors in locker room and restroom design

By Jessica Royer Ocken

I call it the orphan child of facility design," says Anthony Scaglione, referring to locker rooms and restrooms. "They're either overlooked, or people don't spend a fair amount of time looking at the details."

Although they may not be the most flashy or glamorous aspect of a rec center, sports complex or natatorium, locker rooms and restrooms are definitely some of these facilities' most essential components—and doing a good job with them gives you a great opportunity to make your customers happy, not to mention adding value to the overall experience of using what you have to offer.

"One-fourth to one-third of the time at a facility is spent in the locker room," says Scaglione, vice president of operations for L&T Fitness Center Design. "You start and end your workout there, and we need to put that in perspective. It serves a lot of functions, so design is important."

More than just a place to change and stash stuff, locker rooms may be used for showering, socializing, relaxing and getting ready for the next phase of the day. And with so many different functions, there are a myriad of details to attend to and many mistakes that easily can be made. No one sets out to do a poor job with locker rooms and restrooms, and admittedly, some problems are bigger than others, but whether it's ambience, safety, sanitation or convenience you're wrestling with, we've got some expert insights for you. If you're just starting a new construction project, use these tips to jump-start your planning. If you've got an existing facility you'd like to improve, select some of the smaller changes and see what a big difference they can make.