SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
All Gender Restrooms at The Pennsylvania State University
Currently on our space inventory there are 5,691 total restrooms throughout University Park and the Commonwealth Campuses.
|Restrooms||# Rooms on|
|Unisex - Private||84||38||46|
|Unisex - Public||471||298||173|
The desire to provide additional restroom opportunities for our Penn State community began to be communicated by various groups for our students, faculty, staff and visitors along with family and companion needs around 2000. We began to try to determine the number of restrooms at Penn State that were single user and ADA compliant. At the time “unisex” was the term used for these restrooms and this was added to the space inventory in 2002. A separate code was added for private and public as the information could be gathered and verified. This is still in process.
The Office of Physical Plant added a new requirement to the Manual of Design and Construction Standards to construct additional restrooms in 2006. This requirement is included for all major capital projects for new buildings or major renovations:
05 Single User Toilet Rooms
- All buildings shall have Single User toilet rooms in the following locations:
- On the main floor level.
- On every floor level other than the main level, except where a Single User toilet room exists on the floor above and the floor below.
- Where required by code.
- Every project shall consider the location of existing Single User toilet rooms, and shall include the construction of additional toilet rooms to meet the requirements of the preceding paragraph. No exception is given to any project, except with written approval from the Manager of Design Services, Office of Physical Plant.
- All single user toilet rooms shall meet the requirements of the current adopted International Building Code and Americans with Disabilities Act Standards.
- Urinal shall be included within the room.
- In “Family” designated rooms, a baby changing (Koala KB200 or prior approved equal) shall be included.
- Contact Facilities Resources & Planning, Office of Physical Plant, for the appropriate room signage as defined by the PSU interior signage standards and Manager of Design Services, Office of Physical Plant for atypical plumbing fixtures and toilet accessories requests, if applicable.
This action addressed additional restroom opportunities within new construction but did not deal with the many existing and older buildings across Penn State that only includes men’s and women’s restrooms. The Facilities Resources Committee received several requests over this time to create or realign restrooms in some existing academic buildings. The time required to investigate building codes, research options, and design and consider changes, identify funding and move forward could take up to two years.
As the need to provide additional restrooms was becoming a national issue, the University decided to be proactive and work to create more opportunities within our existing major educational and general buildings. The Facilities Resources Committee supported the solicitation and engagement of an outside firm to complete a study of 100 buildings at University Park to identify restrooms that are accessible, could be re-signed within existing building codes, or could be re-signed with a small investment. Gannet Fleming was retained in October 2015 and the study was complete August 2016. We worked closely with the LGBTQA staff and representatives throughout this process to develop the RFP, select the consultant, review the study findings and develop priorities and funding requirements for a first phase. The study did not include any restrooms within auxiliary, residential or intercollegiate athletic facilities or buildings.
Signage, symbols and terms have also changed and existing signage all throughout the University is inconsistent. There has continued to be a national dialog on symbols and signage for gender inclusive restrooms. After working with our LGBTQA staff and community, it was decided that the restrooms will have the below signage:
The first phase of this project is to begin to change signs to make all consistent. We have funding to change around 400 signs in education and general buildings. We will further analyze our inventory of restrooms to determine how many additional signs are needed. We will need to work with our auxiliary and residential staff to change out all signs over time. We will also work with our LGBTQA Office to update their listing of All Gender restrooms and their map for University Park locations.
A total of forty restrooms at University Park have been identified that are accessible and candidates to be re-signed with minor investments beyond signage. The study completed at University Park will assist us in identifying similar alternatives at our Commonwealth Campuses.
The following restrooms at University Park now designated as men or women’s restrooms can be re-signed with minor investments. The first phase will include consideration of these restrooms to be re-signed. There are many additional opportunities to re-sign restrooms that will require site evaluation, design and investment beyond the locations listed below. This will be a multi-year process to work through all the opportunities and phases to provide more restroom opportunities for Penn State.
Accessible Restrooms Considered for Changing to All Gender – University Park
SENATE COMMITTEE ON UNIVERSITY PLANNING
- James Adair
- Kevin Cockroft
- Peter Eberle
- David Gray
- Hengameh Hosseini
- Nicholas Jones
- Rodney Kirsch
- Binh Le
- David Lieb
- Frantisek Marko
- John Marsh
- John Messner
- Laura Pauley, Chair
- Vansh Prabhu
- Andy Reisinger
- Gavin Robertson
- Jeff Robzen
- Ira Saltz
- Shuang Shen
- Steinn Sigurdsson, Vice-Chair
- H. Ford Stryker
- Ming Wang
- Jong Yun