Lock it Up

3. Location, location, location. Where do you want to locate a locker or restroom? What kind of traffic pattern (pedestrian circulation) will it create? How easily can it be supervised? Can your customers find it without an extensive tour of the building?

While it might be smart to cluster these spaces together to piggyback plumbing and save on construction costs, what will be the cost of unhappy customers when something is stolen because of poor supervision or someone is frustrated because of the maze that was needed to be negotiated to get to a restroom?

4. Have a plan for how the locker and rest rooms will be cleaned and the secure storage of products that will be needed to service them.

Maintenance of the facility can be a huge labor cost if poor choices are made in materials and equipment. The life cycle costs need to be weighted against the construction costs.

For example, there are over a dozen types of materials that can be used for restroom flooring — from quarry tile, to carpet, to patterned concrete. What is required to clean the material, how skid-proof it is, and how easily can it be repaired are all variables that should be factored into the decision.

If lockers are placed flush to a wall, this will discourage people from climbing on top of them and hiding items that have been stolen. Solid-surface materials for countertops might cost more initially but they will be easier to clean, more resistant to damage, and give a cleaner look.

5. Privacy. Gang showers may be cost efficient and make cleaning a lot faster because of wide clearance spans but will people want to use them? The cost of a small, enclosed step out area to shower is a lot more attractive because of the privacy it offers.

6. How inviting is the space? Designing adequate clearance, lighting, ventilation and surfaces that have lighter colors to reflect light need to be incorporated.

Create adequate elbow room. Try not to piggy back a huge bank of lockers into corners of a locker room and be sure that benches have enough clearance for people to use their lockers. Towel dispensers, hand dryers and trash receptacles should adjoin sinks so that people don’t have to travel and drip water across the floor.

7. Security. There are several factors to consider — acoustical ceiling tiles can be used to hide stolen items, contraband, etc., and these should be avoided in areas where people are leaving personal belongings.

Customers should use locks on lockers for all items that they cannot take with them. Ask vendors to discuss how theft-proof the construction is of the locker and locks that you can purchase.

8. Consider the hands-off approach. Many more people now are concerned with contracting diseases from places that are used by people with an unknown variety of hygiene habits. In other words, “hands free” is in.

Angled entrances with privacy panels can eliminate the need for doors and the doorknobs that people put their hands on that can spread germs. There are no-touch toilets, sinks and showers that that use infrared sensors to turn on and off.

Many experts believe that the public not only appreciates this investment to prevent the spread of disease but they also believe that people are less likely to abuse the facilities that use the touchless technology.

9. Consider reducing waste and saving money by installing warm-air hand dryers. A typical camp restroom could average 300 hand washings per day over a 90-day camp season. Say two paper towels are used by each person; that math can add up to a substantial expense, not to mention the landfill where the paper will end up. Return on investment of hand dryers can be as fast as one year.

10. Create an ownership for cleanliness. If supervision is apparent by staff presence in both cleaning and inspecting and if there are prompt responses to broken hardware, accidents, spills and replenishment of toilet paper, customers are much more respectful and content with the facility.

These attitudes can contribute to their owning theses spaces so that they will actually report broken fixtures, empty dispensers, and they will be less likely to leave trash behind. Creating shared ownership with customers by carefully designing and caring for the facility can make all the difference in both your costs and your customers’ satisfaction.

Dr. Susan Langlois has more than 25 years of experience as a college professor, athletic administrator, camp director and sport facilities consultant. She is currently the Dean of Sports Science at Endicott College.

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