How Many Bathrooms in a Gym?

To: Ask the Coach
Subject: How Many Bathrooms in the Gym?

How do I determine the number of bathroom/fixtures needed for a proposed retrofit of a building for a gymnastics/recreation facility? During a meet there might be around 300 people in the building (22,000 sq.ft.) These would be a new addition to the building.

What You Must Consider

There are a number of considerations in putting bathrooms in gyms:

  • Local Zoning
  • Location
  • Cost(s)
  • Handicapped Access

Local Zoning

Local building codes will trump all the following recommendations. you must do what your local building codes require. Your zoning classification will affect their requirements as well. Many gyms are in steel buildings in industrial parks. They have minimal bathroom requirements. Commercial zoning has much more stringent requirements.
Warning: Some gyms that are in industrial parks (or other zoning less restrictive than Commercial zoning) require gyms to have had variances approved. Make sure that you are “legal” before you contact the local zoning commission or you may find, that all of a sudden, you are required to make all kinds of expensive additions (like fire suppression systems or increased numbers of parking spaces).


Most gyms put in the absolute minimum bathrooms required, because of cost. Plumbing is not inexpensive. In almost all industrial buildings and many other commercial buildings, bathrooms are located in the building, dependent on where the water and sewer lines come into the building. Running long water and sewer lines is expensive, so bathrooms are almost always located closest to where the city services are located. Putting them anywhere else will cost significantly more. If you have existing bathrooms, you may want to just add on instead of building new bathrooms at the far end of the building.

Handicapped Access

Industrial buildings and old buildings built before the Handicapped access must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) codes. These codes usually require at least one fixture of each type to be accessible to wheelchairs in each public restroom. Check local codes before doing anything else. Even if your building was exempt from ADA regs before, adding on new bathroom facilities may trigger the need for compliance (a good thing, if you are hosting gymnastics meets). There may also be special requirements for handicapped facilities/restrooms specifically designed for children.


These recommendations are probably more bathrooms/fixtures than most gyms traditionally do.

Building Women Men
Capacity Water Closets Lavatories Water Closets Urinals Lavatories
101-200 4 2 2 2 2
201-400 5 2 3 2 2
401-650 7 3 4 3 3
651-900 10 4 5 5 4
901-1200 12 5 6 6 5

Water Closets = Bathroom Stalls
Lavatories = Sinks and Mirror

Other Recommendations

  • Ideally, preschool rooms/areas should have direct access to a restroom.
  • It is recommended that gyms provide a diaper changing table in at least one restroom for each sex.
  • Gyms should consider shower facilities for coaches (and gymnasts), especially if there is a formal locker room.
  • Consider motion-activated lighting to save on electricity.
  • Hand dryers save the costs of paper products and the work of refilling hand towel dispensers.
  • Consider adding hair dryers in women’s bathroom, especially if you add showers.

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