Feature Article - May 2011
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Suit Yourself

Locker Rooms to Fit Your Facility

By Jessica Royer Ocken

Include some room to move. Rollhaus said his firm has a rule that when placing lockers in a U shape, the bottom of the U is always at least six lockers wide. "Anything less and people start to feel cramped," he said. "It's just for comfort and personal space." After all, there's nothing worse than an unintentional booty bump with the person at the locker behind you.

Consider lines of sight. Your locker room layout may be a study in perfection … until someone opens the door. Make sure there's a wall or some other screening agent to shield those using the locker room from the eyes outside, Houston said. But another sight consideration is the ability of your staff to see all parts of the locker room quickly. "You don't want a maze for personal safety reasons, and it needs to be easy to cycle through on a regular basis to see that all is in order and clean," Hayes said.

Lighting is not a luxury. "I don't think you can put too much attention on lighting," Springs said. Low ceilings and harsh lighting immediately create an institutional feel. "No one wants to look bad naked, and a change to warmer light can dramatically change their perception of the room," he added. Houston suggests upgrading light fixtures or using indirect and natural light in the locker room, and he added that the level of light is also important. "You want enough to see while you're changing, but not so much that you feel on display," he said. Except where grooming is concerned, of course. At the vanity, patrons need more wattage, but warm, face-friendly tones will again be appreciated.

The nose knows. Proper ventilation is both a health and a comfort consideration, and also affects the longevity of your locker room's equipment and features, Houston noted. This is not just air volume, but air temperature, humidity and the number of air changes per hour—all of which should be carefully calibrated based on the size and layout of your locker room, as well as the users it serves (wet or dry, showering or not showering, laden with stinky equipment or dressed and ready to go). "Ventilation and air conditioning are the main elements of [indoor air quality], but there are some other things you can do," Houston said, "for example, scenting the airstream and incorporating plants in the locker room, plus mechanical air purification." Springs added that keeping "negative pressure" in the locker room will help contain any odors there, and bringing more natural, outside air through the space can also be a big boon for air quality.