University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

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As UWL continues to explore opportunities to better serve its increasingly diverse student population, it has designated restrooms in several buildings as gender neutral. The challenge centered on how to ensure occupants could quickly and easily determine whether restroom doors were locked or unlocked and whether the space was occupied or vacant.

Background

Founded in 1909, the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse (UWL) is comprised of four colleges offering more than 100 undergraduate programs. It is ranked among the best regional public universities in the Midwest and serves more than 10,000 undergraduate and nearly 1,000 graduate students. 

 

The Challenge

As UWL continues to explore opportunities to better serve its increasingly diverse student population, it has designated restrooms in several buildings as gender neutral. The challenge centered on how to ensure occupants could quickly and easily determine whether restroom doors were locked or unlocked and whether the space was occupied or vacant.

 

The Solution

UWL installed new SARGENT mortise lock status indicators which have a viewing window that is 25 percent larger than the industry standard. Building owners can customize status indicators with text, colors and symbols. The device also incorporates a patent-pending curved design that provides 180-degree, all-angle visibility and is available with a reflective coating that improves visibility in low light conditions. Benjamin Kolpitcke, UWL’s facility maintenance locksmith researched options available on the market and said, “The complaint around most status indicators on the market is that the indicator window is too small to see. Because UWL has ASSA ABLOY products installed across campus that date as far back as the 1960s, I know their products stand the test of time, so they were the first company I turned to when looking for enhanced status indicators for these spaces.” Upgrade kits are available for existing applications that have SARGENT 7800/8200 Series and Corbin Russwin ML2000 Series mortise locks. Status indicators are entirely mechanical and require no electrical wiring or batteries, so installation is straightforward. The kit utilizes the original door prep leaving no exposed holes. Ben chose to install status indicators on both sides of the door to give occupants visual peace of mind that the lock is engaged so they know they won’t be disturbed unexpectedly. “Quickly seeing that a restroom is locked can prevent awkward moments.”

 

Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

When researching options, Ben also welcomed the fact that the status indicator’s optional thumbturn complies with ADA requirements. The ADA states that “a door’s operable parts (i.e., the door handle and other hardware) must be operable with one hand and not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. The force required to activate operable parts shall be 5 pounds maximum.”

 

Easy Egress

International Building Code standards require that “the unlatching of any door not require more than one operation.” In simple terms, this means, when the occupant turns the lever on a lockset, retracts a deadbolt with a thumbturn, or pushes a touchpad – only one of those operations is needed to open the door. Ben said, “We were able to easily comply with this section of the Code because the status indicator’s optional large thumbturn does exactly that.”

Status Indicator Benefits

• Viewing window 25% larger than industry standard for easy viewing

• Patent-pending curved design provides all-angle visibility

• Customizable with text, color and symbols

• Reflective coating for low light conditions

• Upgrade kits available, no wiring required

• Available in 15 finishes

• ADA compliant

• Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) available

Typical Installation

• Classroom doors

• Privacy rooms

• Nursing/new mother rooms

• Patient rooms

• Restrooms

• Corporate meditation and nap spaces

• Meeting rooms