Five gender-neutral restrooms now available on UNA campus

This gender-neutral restroom on the ground floor of Collier Library is one of five converted gender-neutral restrooms on campus.

by News Editor Anna Brown

Five once-gendered restrooms are now gender-neutral or family restrooms as of July 2015, officials said.

A resolution passed by SGA Nov. 20 mandated there be at least one gender-neutral or family restroom in each building on campus.

“All the restrooms we initially said we would convert are completed,” said Assistant Vice President for Facilities Administration and Planning Michael Gautney. “There has also been some discussion on some other restrooms that we could convert to gender-neutral.”

Facilities staff selected these restrooms because of the number of stalls, Gautney said.

The changes made to convert these restrooms to gender-neutral included installing a baby changing station, deadbolt and new sign indicating the restroom is gender-neutral or unisex, he said.

“It was very important for SGA and facilities to add these restrooms to ensure all students and families feel comfortable in a place such as a restroom,” said SGA President Nick Lang. “This now allows families to have a place to take their children without the uneasiness of sharing the bathrooms with other students. Additionally, the students now know that they have a place to use the restroom without any anxiety or social pressure.”

The layout for each converted gender-neutral restroom is different with some restrooms containing a urinal, toilet and sink or just a toilet and sink, Gautney said.

The average cost to convert each restroom to gender-neutral was $500, said Vice President for Business and Financial Affairs Clinton Carter.

Gautney said overhauling the restrooms is more cost-effective than installing new restrooms. He said the cost to install a new restroom is about $8,000 compared to the approximately $2,000 spent. He said the most expensive part was the purchasing and installation of the baby changing stations, which cost about $200 each.

He said the only buildings on campus without a gender-neutral restroom is the Communications Building and the Science and Technology Building.

“We did not want to install a lock on the restrooms in the Communications building because that would leave no public restroom in the building for people to use,” Gautney said. “If we take a large restroom offline, it could cause long lines and wait times for others.”

The Science and Technology building does not contain a gender-neutral restroom because the layout for the building was complete before the resolution passed.

The computer center, Bennett Infirmary, Powers Hall, Covington, Hawthorne and Appleby East and West already had unisex or gender-neutral restrooms, he said.