- WNBA's New York Liberty unveiled its women-designed locker room at the Barclays Center on Monday, designed by Generator Studios and constructed by Shawmut Design and Construction.
- The construction and renovation began with the design in January 2021, resulting in a 6,000-square-foot locker room with a players' lounge, showers, bathroom and steam room, in addition to medical rooms and coaches' offices, David Margolius, executive vice president of New York metro region at Shawmut, told Construction Dive.
- The transformation of a space within an existing compound into a welcoming environment for women and team members was vital, Liberty CEO Keia Clarke told Construction Dive. The team worked closely with Shawmut and Generator on what they were looking for in the end result.
The Liberty's new locker room was built within the existing Barclays Center while the NBA's Brooklyn Nets were playing their regular season games. Shawmut collaborated with the NBA, which created tiered access zones to the jobsite. The locker room is adjacent to the court and visiting team weight room, which meant the team did not work when the Nets had a home game. Instead, Shawmut created a program of double shifts and weekend work to stay on schedule. The Liberty will play their home games at Barclays Center for the first time this year.
Women made up the design/build team leadership, Margolius said, and the external subcontractors were made up wholly of women- and minority-owned business enterprises.
"This allowed for diversity of thought and careful consideration of the needs of the women players, which were incorporated into the design and finished product—a best-in-class facility for professional athletes," Margolius said.
The all-female design team at Generator Studios took privacy, comfort and preferences into account, but also sought to remedy issues from previous spaces. Before, players had to walk through a hallway by coaches' offices and medical areas to get from the showers to the locker rooms. The new locker room has direct access to showers.
According to Clarke, the new locker room incorporates touches focused not only on how the women athletes get ready for a game, but how they get ready for post-game activities. This translated into extended counter spaces, makeup mirrors and a bathroom with a "spa-like feel." Clarke said it was important to make sure the space was suited to the team's needs to enjoy New York's nightlife following a game.
Clarke also indicated she hoped this project set a standard for teams going forward.
"At a time where, especially in sports, we often look at the inequities of men and women, I think this can be held up as a standard of equity," she said. "There's a space where our staff can thrive and do their jobs to the best of their abilities… When a locker room is built for you and you in mind that's a little bit of a different feel."
Correction: This story originally included the wrong timeline for the project. The story has been updated.