Designing a Facility That Demands Respect
The Collins Perley Sports & Fitness Center in St. Albans, VT, is owned by the local public high school and was built in the mid-1980s as their primary athletic and physical education facility. It’s run as both a school and community facility, with more than 25 high school sports teams, 12 daily physical education classes, and a semi-pro soccer team.
The center began renovating its locker room and restroom facilities, where the traditional metal was taking some abuse.
Most of the center’s public use is fee based and critical to the center’s financial stability, though keeping costs low is also important to its community image. According to facility manager Dave Kimel, the center had been slowly renovating a few rooms at a time, as funds allowed.
Finding Lockers That Last
The center gets about 600,000 user visits to its facility each year, about 400,000 of which are unrelated to school functions. “That’s a lot of swinging and banging on toilet stall doors and slamming of locker room doors,” Kimel said, “so wear and tear is important.”
He said most of the old metal lockers still worked, but they looked old and got no respect from the school kids. “We had constant problems with scratching and graffiti,” Kimel said. “Since we put these new Tufftec® lockers in, we have not had a single incident of damage.”
Considering the traffic that Collins Perley experiences, the lockers and stalls needed to be high quality and extremely durable. “One of the key reasons for choosing Scranton Products’ shower partition and locker products was the overall value,” Kimel said. “We’re a public high school and money is tight, but a good product is not the cheapest; it’s the best value and performance over time. The facility amenities also have to look great. The better they look, the more memberships we’ll sell and the more our kids will respect and take care of our facility.”
Bacteria Resistant and Easy to Clean
Kimel said another important feature for the locker rooms is sanitation, with one locker having three or four different users per day. “In a public facility, there is nothing more important that cleanliness,” he explained. “These HDPE lockers and partitions have no cracks, crevices, or edges to catch cleaning cloths or trap mold, mildew, and other bacteria, and they’re easy to clean.”
He also finds that they pay off from a life cycle perspective, and after three years for some of the shower and locker products, they all look as good as the day they were installed. “Every hinge, every latch, every hanger works as well today as it did three years ago,” he said, “so we’ll continue to have more installed.”
Choosing the Right Materials for the Facility
Kimel noted that back in the ‘80s, gang showers were fine for most high school gym classes. But with the multi-use facility, Kimel has seen that change with more demands for privacy. “Scranton Products came up with a simple, clean, great-looking, and inexpensive way to convert one side of our gang showers to individual showers at very low cost,” he said. “And my crew finds them very easy to clean.”
Along with serving as the home for numerous sports teams, the center has seen a significant increase in paid memberships over the past three years. “We attribute that in large part to the way our locker rooms now look and feel; they’re the customers’ first and last impression of their visits here.”
According to Kimel, if you compare a sports and health facility to a house tour, the locker room is as important as a kitchen or bathroom—the two most important rooms when appraising value. “I can get by with an older model treadmill, but I better not have rusted lockers,” he said.