Feature Article - May 2011
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Suit Yourself

Locker Rooms to Fit Your Facility

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Creating the right locker room for your facility can make users fall in love.

It's the reward after a worthy workout, a place to get in the right frame of mind for the game, and a clean, convenient (hopefully) spot to get kids ready to play and then ready to leave.

It's also likely one of the most complex and expensive (per square foot) portions of the facility, whether that's a community recreation center, a college sports complex or a fitness club. So, it's safe to say the locker room is an area worthy of some thought and planning.

"Historically, locker rooms were pretty formulaic," said Stephen Springs, AIA, LEED AP, a principal at Brinkley Sargent Architects in Dallas, Texas. "You'd seen one, you'd seen them all. But now we're seeing more attention paid."

Perhaps this is because we're a society that likes convenience—and enjoys a little pampering from time to time. "There's always a conflict between making things nice and pretty versus making them durable," Springs continued. "At one extreme you have a white-tile, hose-down-able room that a janitor would love, but it may not be the most friendly to be in. On the other end, you've got carpet, wood, music playing and a nice place to hang out—but a lot more maintenance."

The goal is to find where you fall on that spectrum in terms of target audience, budget and maintenance staff. And even if you're feeling pretty practical, don't despair. "There've been lots of advances in the last ten years," Springs said. "It's not just white-glazed tile anymore."

With these inspiring words in mind, the following guide will help ensure you've included all the locker room essentials, as well as provide a roadmap for the latest trends and amenities that will take your facility beyond the basics, making it practical, attractive, durable and maybe even a little luxurious.