Recreational Restrooms: Take your cues from some of the best restrooms in the sporting world
By Mark Knurek
What makes a recreational venue great? Is it the team, the fans, the facility? When visiting a new stadium, it’s the overall experience that makes fans take notice. And, most often, a trip to the restroom is part of that experience.
Find out how top stadiums and parks are enhancing visitors’ restroom experience and how you can score points with a winning restroom in your own facility.
MVPs: Thanks to a 2005 law requiring all new or significantly renovated places of public assembly in New York City to have two women’s toilet fixtures for every one men’s, lines outside the ladies’ room are now a rarity.
The overall restroom fixture-to-fan ratio has also changed significantly at the new Yankee Stadium when compared to the old stadium, going from one for every 89 fans to one for every 60. In addition, the use of family-style restrooms finally came into play. According to the American Restroom Association, having these types of unisex toilets is the best way to prevent so-called “potty parity,” reducing the chance of lines for everyone.
Similarly, Shea Stadium’s restrooms didn’t hold a candle to the Mets’ new home, Citi Field, where there is now one restroom (women’s, men’s and family facilities) for every 70 guests, which is a 31 percent increase versus Shea Stadium. Not only that but the new stadium features baby changing tables in all restrooms, so that every fan can have equal access to needed facilities.
Game plan: To ensure that restrooms are queue-free, keep your restroom-to-guest ratio low. Consider the use of unisex bathrooms to decrease gender disparity when it comes to lavatory lines. And, when applicable, install changing tables across-the-board, not just in the ladies’ room.
Sturdy and sustainable
MVPs: Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., is the first stadium in the country to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. To help achieve its LEED Silver certification, the ballpark installed water-conserving plumbing fixtures. LEED certification isn’t the only benefit for Nationals Park: The stadium estimates that water-saving restroom products reduce annual water usage by 3.6 million gallons, conserving resources and budgets.
Similarly, Montreal’s Saputo Soccer Stadium, home of the Montreal Impact, installed electronic faucets and flush valves when it opened in 2008, for maximum water savings. The stadium also went for the most durable designs it could find, tasking contractors to use products that not only meet all design specs but are also heavy-duty and vandal-resistant.
Game plan: You don’t have to build a new stadium to go green; start by converting old flush valves to new water-saving electronic models through the use of a convenient retrofit kit. Hands-free models not only conserve resources; they also help keep restrooms clean and prevent the spread of germs. Next, take a look at your lavatory faucets. Are they showing signs of wear and tear? How much water are they (collectively) using? Consider installing faucets that not only offer lower flow rates but also a durable design that can stand up to constant use and the toughest industrial cleaners. Metering faucets are a great option, as they offer unparalleled water and energy cost savings.
MVPs: The most well-appointed lavatories in a sporting facility are often found in the luxury box. With fixtures, colors and materials that feel more like your own home than home to thousands of screaming fans, these are often the nicest recreational restrooms you’ll see.
One recreational facility that has taken luxury to the masses is New York’s Bryant Park. The public restrooms in Bryant Park were ranked Number One in the world by VirtualTourist.com, noted for cleanliness, with the added perks of music, fresh flowers and an attendant. So, whether you’re visiting the park to play ping pong, try your hand at the French ball game of pétanque, ice skate or simply to be a spectator of nature, you can rest assured that your restroom experience will be a winning one.
Game plan: If over-the-top luxury is not an option, a few lavish extras can still take your restroom to the next level. Give restroom users a taste of the good life with complimentary toiletries, super-soft toilet tissue and the cleanest restrooms in your league.
Mark Knurek is director of marketing and product development for Moen’s Commercial Division.