Guest Column - February 2014
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Locker Rooms

The Ideal Locker Room

By Kristy Mejia

With recreation and fitness centers being built and renovated every day, facility owners often overlook how essential locker rooms are to their facility. Patrons use the locker rooms for a number of things during their visit to the fitness facility—one of them being to lock up their belongings. Whether it is items such as clothes or car keys, users want to know that their belongings are safely tucked away while they access all that the facility has to offer. With that being said, where do you start?

Numerous questions arise when trying to determine what lockers are right for your facility. How many lockers do I need? What type of locks should I use? Do I have color and design options? All these questions and more can be answered and simplified through the locker ordering process. With both plastic laminate and wood locker options, there are products to meet the needs of recreation centers, gyms, country clubs and more.

The first step in determining what type of lockers are needed is deciding between plastic laminate and wood lockers. Durability meets affordability when it comes to plastic laminate lockers, making them a good fit for busy gyms and fitness facilities. Constructed of industrial-grade particle board and finished with fire-retardant laminate, these lockers can withstand many years of constant use. Components such as five knuckle hinges and vinyl t-molding edging help contribute to the life of your plastic laminate lockers. As for aesthetics, plastic laminate options are endless. Solid colors, patterns or wood grains can be selected and offer something to suit everyone's preference.

The alternate option is natural wood lockers. Constructed of the same quality material as the plastic laminate lockers, natural wood lockers offer up options of either flush veneer or solid wood, raised panel doors. Often used in golf and country clubs, wood lockers offer a more upscale appearance for your locker room. There is an extensive selection of wood species and stained finishes to choose from when selecting natural wood lockers. This is a great option for a locker room that may already have wood fixtures and cabinets installed, as your new lockers can be finished to match the pre-existing furniture.

Once you've selected your locker type, the next step is determining what locker configurations will suit your facility best. It's best to take a look at your club's demographics to determine this. Is your club located in a downtown area or business district where clients will be wearing suits or jackets when they arrive? Then a single or double-tier locker model with extra hanging space would be a good option. Or maybe your club serves people who are already dressed and ready for their workout? Then six-tier purse size lockers would be a good selection for accommodating keys, purses, wallets, etc.

Lockers are available in a range of sizes and tiers, giving club owners endless options when designing their locker rooms. Standard locker sizes are typically 12 inches or 16 inches in width with an 18-inch depth and 72-inch height. With a clear understanding of a club's demographics, a percentage or mixture of full size single-tier, double- tier or other various models and custom sizes can be recommended to maximize the locker room space.

Similarly, a variety of interior components can be added in order to customize the lockers even further. Coat rods and extra hooks are good accessories for locker users who will be hanging clothes. Other items that can be added include hat shelves, shoe shelves, rubber mats, drawers and mirrors. For a facility such as a country club, accessories such as name plates, towel bars or coin trays can be a good addition to a locker that is permanently assigned to a member. The inside of the locker will have an impact on how your patron accesses your lockers so be sure to select interior options that best work with your club's services and activities.

Now that you've determined your locker type, models and accessories, it's time to decide on locks. One of the most important components of lockers, and often the most difficult to understand, are locking mechanisms. And with a wide range of lock options on the market, how do you decide what will suit your club best?

A basic consideration when selecting the proper lock is security vs. convenience and temporary vs. permanent use. The most secure and least time-consuming lock available is a padlock hasp. Through-bolted to the side of the locker and passing through the door, breaking into this type of lock is time-consuming and would make a lot of noise. Users simply bring their own padlock to lock up their locker, creating no work for club management.

For facilities that would like to issue lockers to their members, a keyed lock can be selected. These locks typically come with two user keys per lock and a master key for management access, if needed.

Other types of locks that can be selected for temporary use can be digital locksets or rotary dial combination locks. Although more expensive, this type of lock application can be a good upgrade for clubs looking to offer convenience to their members as they would not need to bring their own padlock. Typical features for these types of locks include a user-selected code and manager key override.

For facilities such as golf and country clubs, lock options can include push-button and dial combination locksets for members who have permanently assigned lockers. Combinations are preset and given to the user in advance. Some additional lock options can include code locks, card locks and coin-operated locksets.

From locker configurations and accessories, to lock options and custom sizing, made-to-order lockers are a great way to create a locker tailored to your facility. Providing your patrons with the appropriate lockers will ensure that your locker room is a convenient and accessible location for everyone.

Kristy Mejia is a sales estimator for Ideal Products Inc., which manufactures lockers and components for a wide variety of facility types, including schools, colleges and universities, parks and recreation facilities, health, fitness, racquet, golf, tennis and country clubs, sports stadiums, medical offices and more. Ideal lockers are made in the USA with 100 percent American-made materials and components. For more information, visit