Security in the Family Locker Room at Rec Centers

by Matt Svoboda on May 15, 2010

One of the primary concerns that we hear from clients considering family changing rooms in the design for their new recreation center is people using those rooms inappropriately.  There are several proven methods at preventing these kinds of unwanted activities, and it is a combination of both passive and active methods which seems to get the best results.

Passive vs. active visual control – Passive visual control is achieved with increased foot traffic and general openness.  Family locker rooms are often very busy places and the careful location of benches and lack of intermediate locker bays which might block the view to a cabana door can be enough to be a deterrent.  Active visual control is just what is sounds like…a member of the center staff monitoring the comings and goings of cabana users.  This can be extremely impractical from a layout standpoint, especially if you have a high number of doors to watch.  A logical compromise is the location of your lifeguard room or aquatics managers office (which you will need anyway) in a place where there is at least a window onto the family locker area which can create the perception of surveillance, even if you do not have a dedicated security position.

Passive vs. active locking hardware – It is common for directors of recreational facilities to be concerned that handing out keys for individual changing rooms is the only way to control who goes into a cabana.  For centers that have many cabanas (10 or more) or anticipate a higher percentage of mischievous users this may be an option, but it should be considered carefully.  Individual cabana keys create unique maintenance and staffing issues and are generally inconvenient for both the center and the center’s users.  All cabana door hardware needs to be lockable from the inside for privacy, but must also be allowed to be overridden by an emergency key.

A combination of both passive locking hardware and passive visual control is typically the most user-friendly of several solutions to ensure that your rec center’s family locker rooms exhibit an appropriate level of security while enhancing the user experience.

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