School Bathrooms

Written by Patricia Skinner
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The problems associated with designing school bathrooms have been seen to be compounded by the introduction of ADA guidelines that now must be complied with by all schools. In addition to calculating how many stalls are needed to comfortably accommodate all the girls and all the boys in a given school, providing an appropriate number of handicapped stalls has become a requirement. Designers are quick to assure school administrators that the problems are not insurmountable.

Indeed, the principles of barrier free design are quite practical to introduce to school bathrooms, even if on a limited scale. For an administration that is tempted to cut costs here, it should be remembered that the condition of the school bathrooms is an indication of standards in the school at large. Bathrooms that are clean, efficient and comfortable to use can only enhance a school's image.

Barrier Free Design and School Bathrooms

Many of the concepts of barrier free design that are recommended for use in bathrooms intended for the handicapped are, in fact, particularly appropriate for school bathrooms. Take the issue of faucets and flushes that work with sensors. These are not only perfect for handicapped use, but they are also great for overcoming issues of hygiene that arise in schools.

While space may be an issue, at least one stall in every school bathroom needs to have room for a wheelchair user to turn comfortably and make an approach to the toilet, either front on or sideways on. Making the washbasins approachable is not a big deal, and there is plenty of room in average school bathrooms to make this area fully barrier free. Using hard surface materials such as ceramic is going to make school bathrooms vandal resistant, saving money in the long run, and preserving the desired environment in the bathrooms.

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