Planned Rec Center's Universal Locker Rooms Discussed

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As parks and recreation officials in West Lafayette, Ind., ponder whether a planned rec center will become the first in the state with universal restroom facilities, signs exist of a split in opinion among residents.

WLFI asked for feedback after community members gathered this week to view layout options for locker room and restroom design in a facility set to open in 2020, following a ground-breaking this spring. On one side is Nick Schenkel, director of the West Lafayette Public Library, who attended Tuesday's meeting to get ideas for an upcoming library remodeling project. "We want to make sure our facilities reflect the needs of the community as much as we possibly can," Schenkel said, adding that he was impressed by the plans. "It's a very good concept. It's perhaps even overdue in terms of being implemented, and what a fantastic time to do it."

Plans would allow both genders inside the same locker room facility in lieu of separate men's and women's areas. Toilets, showers, sinks and changing areas would all be universal. Individual stalls would be able to be locked.

That's not good enough for Michelle Robson, an Otterbein resident considering signing up for a rec center membership. If locker rooms in the new facility are not separated by gender, Robson said she will look for a different location. Her concerns center around her children. "I don't want them seeing undressed people of the opposite sex," Robson said. "And I don't want other people seeing my kids of the opposite sex that are undressed."   

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