Feature Article - May 2013
Find a printable version here

Comfort & Joy

Modernize Your Locker Room to Boost Satisfaction

By Rick Dandes

Flooring material is also changing with the times, said Keane, of Hastings+Chivetta Architects. "Larger floor tile are replacing the 2x2 tile. The larger tile, while giving a fresh look to the locker room floor also means less grout to keep clean between the tiles."

When you think of floor materials, one of the key questions is, can you get something that is going to be long term, durable and easy for maintenance, so that it can appear clean longer. There is good news on this front. There are synthetic floors that are continuous, add color and texture to the floor, can easily be cleaned and are resistant to dirt. The larger the size wall tile, the easier it is to clean because the grout joints are typically what stains first. When it comes to floor material, use smaller tiles that provide better slip resistance.

Specialty Rooms

Family locker rooms are still important, said Blaisdell. "Particularly in community recreation facilities, it is important for families to use those rooms to change before and after an event. Specialty rooms are also available for adults with disabilities. When we design a facility," he said, "We will offer a blend of family changing rooms, and ADA compliant rooms, benches and showers. We try to save space with multiple rooms, small, medium and large spaces."

ADA guidelines are pretty strict. You can't have twisting motion on the lock; you have reach considerations, so if someone is in a wheelchair they have to be able to reach their shoes on the bottom shelf. Users need to be able to reach and hang up their coats. Even more important is the location of the locker, which has to be accessible to wheelchair-bound individuals.

The family-style locker rooms are increasing in other areas as well. They are being considered gender-neutral spaces and there is an increasing need to provide such rooms for all special uses. They are no longer just associated with the pool area.

There are some special considerations for locker rooms associated with aquatic centers. Aquatics is the one place where locker room use is holding steady as the users have to change and shower to swim. Gang showers are out. Some sort of privacy between shower areas is preferred, and the wall material need not be expensive. HDPE and phenolic partitions can do the trick. These are also the preferred materials for aquatic area lockers, because they are waterproof. With plastic-based lockers you won't have the rust problem that you have with painted steel lockers. Also key: having a non-slip floor.