Gone are the days when steel and wood lockers were the only option for campus recreation facilities. Now, users demand locker products with not just better aesthetics, but increased functionality, leading to the age of plastic laminate lockers.
In fact, plastic laminate lockers now exceed the demand for wood and steel, accounting for over 50 percent of locker sales. Laminate lockers, however, are not necessarily the best solution — their edges easily chip and moisture from humid environments or wet clothing can cause the product to swell or completely delaminate. If laminate lockers are ever compromised by attempted break-in, the integrity cannot be restored, increasing liability exposure.
As lockers must secure students’ personal items in segregated, high-traffic, high-moisture areas, campus recreation professionals can often seek an alternative, and plastic lockers may be the solution to these concerns. Plastic lockers are currently the most common online search. While there are two types, the popular choice is a phenolic locker — an inherently “green” material. Phenolic has been around for more than 30 years in a wide range of colors, patterns and woodgrains. It is acknowledged as the optimum material for making lockers, which are impact resistant and moisture proof.
In recent years, new lockers have hit the marketplace. Improved metal locker designs eliminate the industrial or institutional feel of this “tried and true” material and favor improved aesthetics and end-user “extras.” Innovative lockers constructed of more than one type of material are probably the most interesting development. These lockers leverage the strengths and mitigate the weaknesses of different materials, while opening up many new design possibilities not previously possible. Glass and aluminum are new materials not previously practical for use in lockers. The most promising of these innovations is a hybrid of a metal frame and a phenolic door, providing the “best of all worlds” in terms of strength, security, durability and aesthetics.
If lockers are part of the purchasing plan for your recreation facility, be sure to explore the new options available. Not only are there more options for locker cabinets, there is also a wider variety of lock options ranging from traditional padlocks to cutting-edge technologies like keypad operated electronic solutions that include advanced features such as audit trail or management by mobile device.
Richard Shaffer is a locker specialist and the business development manager for the Celare & Core brands by Digilock. For more information he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707.242.8349.