Feature Article - May 2011
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Suit Yourself

Locker Rooms to Fit Your Facility

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Beginning Considerations

With some ideas in mind about your facility's uses and users, the next step is to look at the practical components a locker room needs to include. This is also a good time to get the right professionals on board to assist you, if you haven't done so already. From knowledge of federal laws and state/local building codes to a wealth of past project experience to draw on, an architectural or design firm that specializes in recreation facilities will more than earn their keep by helping you end up with a locker room that fits your facility, meets legal requirements, and keeps consumers happy.

Basically, there are two components to be considered when constructing a locker room: the "bodily functions pieces," which include toilets, sinks, lavatories and showers, and the "storage and grooming" components, such as lockers, benches, shelves and mirrors, explained Keith Hayes, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, a principal at Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture in Denver. But based on the thinking you've already done, you can probably imagine that the ways to implement these elements are nearly endless. Here are a few quick-hit tips from the pros:

Don't skimp on lockers. "Try to avoid using lockers as a place to save money unless you absolutely have to," Hayes said. But this doesn't mean you must have the wood-grain, gold-plated models either. "In a hockey or gym environment, metal lockers can be perfectly good, and maybe even desirable," he noted. Be sure you choose lockers large enough to hold the items users are likely to have with them, whether that's hockey gear or business suits. And, if you're looking to maximize the number you can provide, consider selecting several sizes—some large, some smaller.

Provide plenty of places to put things. "There's the dance we do when showering," Hayes said. "You go to your locker, you have to dry your feet, you dance around looking for a dry spot to set things. This is why hooks are good, shelves and places to set things." He also suggests plenty of benches, some fixed in place and some moveable. "Often people just need a place to sit," he said.