PRIVACY FIRST—AND A FIRST FOR EQUALITY
Bobrick DuraLineSeries® Compact Laminate partitions are central to the first all-gender school restroom in Washington State.
Photos courtesy of Ben Benschneider.
Social issues and design are increasingly intertwined. Tamara Allen, Architectural Consultant at Wind NW (an authorized Bobrick sales representative), knows that from experience. She and her team frequently give presentations to school district construction management teams on facility design trends and best practices.
Naturally, restroom privacy and the social issues that they address — such as gender neutrality and the needs of transgender individuals — are a key learning objective.
“We always research the local area and the privacy challenges they’re running into,” says Allen.
So when Vashon Island High School, just outside of Seattle, began exploring all-gender facilities to support the school’s LGBTQ population, Construction Planning & Management (CPM) — the construction project manager and owner’s representative for Seattle Public Schools and Vashon Island School District — knew just the solution.
To renovate both a boys’ and girls’ restroom into two all-gender restrooms — the first of their kind in the state of Washington — Brandy Fox of CPM recommended Bobrick’s DuraLineSeries Maximum Privacy, Gap-Free (2082G.67) partitions.
To ensure a successful installation that satisfied both the students’ and the school district’s needs, CPM worked closely with both Wind NW and installing distributor Barclay Dean Architectural Products.
ADDRESSING MARKET NEEDS FOR PRIVACY
When meeting with school district construction management teams, Wind NW often highlights design principles that satisfy local market needs as well as relevant legislation. In this case, state and federal law protected the rights of LGBTQ public school students in Washington.
Allen is also a member of the Association for Learning Environments, a national nonprofit focused on improving the places where children learn. By imparting education best practices and insights on the local market to construction representatives of school districts, schools like Vashon Island High School can confidently buy into the benefits and value that Bobrick delivers.
THE SOLUTION? DURALINESERIES.
Bobrick DuraLineSeries partitions with the gap-free option were a clear choice for the CPM and Wind NW teams as a means to maximize privacy and promote peace of mind for all students using the new all-gender restrooms. While continuous hardware between the panels and stiles eliminate sightlines, 72"-tall doors also help reinforce privacy.
The durability of DuraLineSeries also supported the choice. Since schools often see high rates of vandalism, the Compact Laminate material was ideal. “It’s just so vandal resistant. Graffiti comes right off. It’s very difficult to scratch. It really eases maintenance,” says Allen.
Each all-gender restroom features a shared hand-washing area, an ADA-compliant accessible toilet compartment as well as Bobrick B-3706C Semi-Recessed Napkin/Tampon Vendors (with Free Vend), ensuring that students always have unrestricted access to feminine hygiene amenities. In recent years, several states have passed laws requiring some public facilities to stock a portion of the restrooms with such amenities at no charge.
EMBRACING A NEW LEVEL OF PRIVACY & INCLUSIVENESS
School administration, the school’s parent association and its teachers all embraced the all-gender restrooms. In January 2018, they opened with a local media event and widespread enthusiasm.
“Making bathrooms all-gender is the safest and clearest way to prevent students from having to explain or justify their bathroom use to anyone,” said Vashon Island High School Principal Danny Rock. “It’s something none of us should ever have to endure.”
Location: Vashon, WA
Bobrick Representative: Wind NW (Tukwila, WA)
Owner’s Representative: Construction Planning & Management (Seattle, WA)
Installing Distributor: Barclay Dean Architectural Products (Woodinville, WA)
Partitions Used: DuraLineSeries® Compact Laminate Maximum Privacy, Gap-Free (2082G.67)
Compact Laminate Finish: Pewter Mesh by Wilsonart