Feature Article - November 2008
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Rest Stops

Adding Versatile, Durable, Beautiful Restrooms

By Sue Marquette Poremba

"Mommy! I need to use the bathroom!"

It's a phrase that every parent has heard when playing at the park or when watching their children play a game on the soccer field. And let's be honest, it isn't just kids who need the restroom out in public.

Because use of public parks and other recreational areas continues to increase, communities are making restrooms a top priority when planning new recreation facilities or renovating existing facilities.

But they can also be considered a luxury because of the costs of installation and maintenance. In fact, said Gary Burger, of a national precast concrete building company, for a long time, many parks stopped installing restroom facilities because they were too expensive to maintain. Today, park directors have options of buildings that don't require a lot of up-front construction and design costs, and better yet, don't require a lot of maintenance.

For example, some buildings can simply be hosed down. "It doesn't matter if they get wet," Burger said of his company's precast structures. "And because the roof is all concrete, you don't have to worry about replacing the roof."

Burger referred to the post-installation costs as the "lifecycle" costs of the building, and depending on the type of restroom structure chosen, those lifecycle costs can be kept low.