With as many as 300 people stepping into his bowling alley each weekday, and over 400 on weekends, Andrew Nieman, owner of Oxford Lanes in Oxford, Ohio, keeps pretty busy. It’s little wonder the 12-lane facility draws such crowds. In addition to the various bowling leagues and multiple coaching programs, Nieman keeps things moving by offeringoffers glow-bowling nights and DJ music on the weekends. The bowling alley also has a snack bar and a small game area; the latter of which he is hoping to expand later this year. 

With so much traffic coming and going, it isn’t hard to imagine the level of activity his two restrooms — one for men, one for women — must endure. Anyone familiar with public restrooms (especially those tasked with their cleaning, has a pretty good idea of how traffic can impact cleanliness. Paper towels are often tossed carelessly about. There are overfilled trash containers, empty soap dispensers and wet floors.  The mess doesn’t help a facility put its best foot forward, and can be risky for patrons.  

Untidy restrooms are a genuine problem. Not only is a strong message of cleanliness imperative to Nieman, but this trouble spot came with added concern. 

“Water is hazardous for bowling shoes,” he explains. “Not only does it cause a slip-and-fall situation in the restroom, but tracking that water out to the lanes can create accidents for those wearing the shoes and for bowlers who bowl after them.” 

When he decided in 2017 to completely remodel and update his restrooms for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance — something that required a closure of almost a month — Nieman saw an opportunity to transform an ongoing annoyance. 

Seeking a Solution

Prior to the remodel, his restrooms were fairly standard, consisting of a two-basin sink on an old countertop with a shared soap dispenser and a roll paper towel dispenser. What he wanted instead was something that would keep wet hands in the sink and reduce (or even eliminate) paper towel usage, thereby decreasing the amount of weekly trash the bowling alley generated — an added environmental bonus. 

“I was intent on an all-in-one solution because I wanted to keep as much water off the floor as possible,” he recalls. “I searched online for sink solutions that I thought would work if we were to build our own system. The plan involved a decent hand dryer blowing water down into the sink.” 

Also driving this desire for an all-in-one wash station was space, particularly a lack thereof. As he remodeled, Nieman wanted to add another urinal to the men’s room, limiting wall space for a hand drying fixture. But even if space hadn’t been a consideration, Nieman still wanted “the efficiency of being able to centralize in one location all the handwashing activity.  

During his search for solutions, Nieman ran across a few manufacturers offering all-in-one options, but ultimately settled on the Verge with WashBar from Bradley Corp., based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Nieman was impressed by the WashBar’s professional appearance, its simplicity and a footprint that made cleaning the sink easy. Among other features, the WashBar — which includes touch-free soap, water and hand dryer — has LED lighting, easy-to-understand icons, smart technology and regular software updates. The Verge is also a single-piece molded basin, which is easy to clean. 

“The LED on the face of the bar for the soap portion shows red when the soap is low,” says Nieman. “There are additional diagnostic functions with the three LEDs on the face of the unit that signal other potential errors, although in five years we’ve had very few problems with the system. The control unit makes sure the sensors don’t keep activating devices — soap, water, hand drying — too long and will keep the hand dryer from operating while the soap and/or water are running. The soap and water can be activated at the same time, but the hand dryer will only run by itself. This helps ensure we’re not splashing anyone’s shirt with soap or water.” 

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Handwashing Setup Streamlines Restroom Cleaning, Saves Supplies