Long Beach Unified School District has proposed gender neutral locker rooms for a $23 million aquatic center at Winston High School.
Long Beach Unified School District officials on Monday, Nov. 29, said the all-gender locker room is meant to provide a safe environment for all students.
The gender neutral locker room design is expected to be replicated at five additional high schools where the district wants to build pools.
In the design proposal, the gender neutral locker rooms would have 58 individual changing stalls and 10 individual stalled showers and nine restrooms.
The facility would have a common area, where students will gather to wait for a stall to be available for them to change or shower.
Two open-space team rooms for water polo and swim teams to use will also be incorporated into the locker room and would be accessible for staff of any gender, district officials said.
This planned change comes after students, LBUSD officials added, were nearly unanimous in saying they were uncomfortable using the communal showers and changing areas that have long been the norm in high schools.
“The school district’s decision to include plans for inclusive facilities aligns with our equity and inclusivity values, while also taking into consideration a student-driven campaign that called for equitable access to school facilities for all students,” Chris Eftychiou, a spokesperson for the district, said in a statement.
“Student safety and privacy, as well as staff supervision were diligently considered in Wilson [High School’s] inclusive locker room design. The locker room can be accessed by staff of any gender, providing Wilson an increased ability to monitor students.”
Eftychiou explained that the design for the all-gender facilities was created with input from students, staff and physical education and aquatics coaches from WHS and other LBUSD schools.
The aquatic center is scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2022.