Facility Closing Procedures

April 08, 2011

An Important Part of Daily Operations

Roger Heimerman
Assistant Director-Facilities/Membership Services
Recreation Services
University of Kansas

It is 10:15pm on a Friday night. The recreation facility closed at 10pm. The Facility Supervisor on duty last checked the locker rooms at approximately 9:45pm. All seemed normal on this Friday night. The facility staff is in a hurry and ready to start their planned Friday night activities. They neglect to check the locker rooms after closing, adopting the attitude that there is little reason to walk downstairs to check this area. The Facility Supervisor and Facility Assistants sign out and exit the facility. Little to their knowledge, a participant had walked into the men’s locker at 9:55pm, placed paper towels over the drains and turned on all ten showers. As you can imagine, water damage to the facility would be quite extensive by the time facility staff arrive next morning!

Another scenario: It is five minutes prior to closing and the facility staff are in a hurry to leave. The Facility Supervisor decides to turn off the majority of lights. Two individuals are playing racquetball, and as the lights are switched off, the racquetball is hit hard against the wall, rebounds and hits one of the participants in the eye causing severe damage to the retina. (Why weren’t they wearing safety goggles?)

These two scenarios illustrate the importance of following through with established procedures at closing time. Designed to protect participants, Rec staff and the facility, closing procedures need to be

  • Documented
  • Incorporated into Job Descriptions/ List of Duties
  • Incorporated into staff training
  • Communicated to all staff

Facility staff (professional staff and part-time students) responsible for closing should be held accountable for properly implementing Closing Procedures, and discipline procedures need to be enforced if there are procedural breaches.

The following summarizes the key elements that need to be incorporated into all closing procedures:

  • Locking all entry doors five to ten minutes prior to closing.
  • Making a closing announcement which provides specific information (e.g. where to return equipment) and which clearly indicates when activity area and locker room lights will be switched off. (Make sure that emergency lights provide sufficient lighting in the event of stragglers).
  • Checking ALL activity and support areas within the facility after closing to ensure all participants have left the facility. (For locker room and restroom areas, each shower and restroom stall should be checked).
  • Checking to make sure that all showers and water faucets have been turned off.
  • Checking for maintenance problems (water fountain leaking, water leaks from roof, etc.).
  • Checking all exterior facility doors to ensure they are secured and locked.
  • As the last staff member(s) exit the facility, double checking main entry doors to ensure they are secure and locked.
  • Conducting an exterior inspection around the facility to ensure all exterior doors have been secured (If you cannot enter the facility, no one else can).
  • For ‘Remote Site’ closings, ensuring there is two-way radio contact with either the Public Safety department on campus or the primary recreational facility.

1. It is recommended that a ‘Closing Checklist’ be used to document and verify completion of all closing procedures, as well as any problem areas encountered.
2. From a personal safety perspective, it is also recommended that a two-person team be used when implementing closing procedures. A two-person team should be mandatory when closing staff members are female.

Facility security and closing procedures should not be taken lightly. Steps should be taken to ensure that all closing staff are following protocol and not taking shortcuts. All instances where the closing protocol is not followed should be documented and reported.

Closing procedures are serious business!. After all, we’re dealing with participant and staff safety -something not to be taken lightly.

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