Feature Article - November 2008
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Rest Stops

Adding Versatile, Durable, Beautiful Restrooms

By Sue Marquette Poremba

Money Matters

Budget considerations are very important, especially in today's economy, so many communities are beginning to look at facilities that have multiple purposes, such as the concession stand/restroom combo used in Riverbank. Companies are also offering buildings that can provide storage, which is especially popular at playing fields that need a place to keep equipment like soccer nets or that require special landscaping equipment.

"A lot of parks will lease that extra space to groups to raise money through concessions," said Ryan Smith, of a Roseburg, Ore., prefabricated building company. "Roof extensions are also getting more popular. Communities want a pavilion, but it is too expensive to build two structures, so they incorporate it into one structure, like a concession and restroom on one end and a roof extension with picnic tables. It's a more efficient way to do things."

Another trend in restrooms Smith is seeing is the push-pull between safety and aesthetics.

"We have a lot of customers looking for specifics on a building to keep their park patrons safe," he explained, "like a wing wall. If there is an entry door with a privacy wall, they ask if we could lift up that last course of blocks to see if someone is standing behind that wall. There is also a move from multi-user facilities, where everyone is in the same room, to a single-user facility. That way, if there is a parent in the park, and they have a child of the opposite sex, the parent knows the child can go into the facility and lock the door."

In fact, the trend for adding or improving restroom facilities in community parks seems to be driven by kids and their parents. "It seems like every kid in America plays some kind of sports these days," Matthew Smith said. "Any park you go by is filled with kids and cars and parents, and it seems like communities are trying to upgrade their parks with better facilities."