Improving Visitor Experience Goal of Festival Grounds Upgrades
Part 2 of a four-part article on upgrades to festival grounds
While visitors to Summerfest understandably focus on the music when making their way around the site, Gosse and his team were focused on upgrading the 12 facilities on the site’s south end in order to improve the overall experience of visitors.
“The main goal was to improve the functionality of the buildings so we could provide better service for our customers,” Gosse says. “We wanted to raise the bar on the aesthetics of the facilities to match what we’ve been doing on other projects on the grounds, and we wanted to serve the bands and our sponsors in a better way.”
The ages and histories of the buildings involved in the 2012 upgrades affected both the planning and performance of the upgrades.
“The work involved the oldest buildings and oldest infrastructure within the facility,” he says. “A lot of the buildings were part of the military base and had been converted for festival use. They included food service buildings, bathroom buildings, some service areas. They all were very outdated both in terms of size — what bands currently need in terms of infrastructure — and also the aesthetics.”
The south end restroom was in perhaps the greatest need of attention.
“That was the worst bathroom on the grounds,” he says. “It was very outdated and underserviced and needed aesthetic improvements. Even the functionality of the gates was outdated. While they may have served us for a time, technology changed. Now we use metal detectors, and we do scanning. The number of people we bring in through the gates had increased.”
The restroom upgrades using a range of products from Bradley Corp. enabled Gosse and his team to address a host of ongoing issues.
“Hygiene was a goal in terms of materials that are easily cleanable, and when I say that I mean washing down with a pressure washer or hose,” he says. “The products must also be tamper proof, graffiti resistant, and hold up to heavy commercial use and abuse. We have also tried to streamline our inventory so we can order one type of paper towel, toilet paper and soap.”
The level of use and abuse the facilities receive from visitors to Summerfest and the ethnic festivals greatly influences the types of products that Gosse specifies.
“The toilet fixture we select cannot be a residential fixture, a floor-mounted toilet,” Gosse says. “It just would not stand up to the amount of use it gets. We tend to go with wall-mounted, flush-valve models that can stand up to use and abuse. That runs the gamut on all the products we put in. We look for products that can stand up to abuse and are graffiti-proof and vandal-proof.
“That even goes for the paint, which has to be easily cleanable. We’re even trying to standardize the colors we use so that when somebody does graffiti something and we can’t get it off and have to repaint it, we’re not trying to figure out what color the paint was. We have to think about these things. An interior designer might come along and say, ‘This color would look really nice in this bathroom.’ We have to minimize that and go with some standards and stick with them to make maintenance a lot easier and quicker.”
The upgrades also enabled Gosse and his team to address considerations beyond fixtures and dispensers.
“Reducing electricity use was a much higher priority for us,” he says. “We used LED light fixtures, either dimmable or dual level, and daylighting. We’ve done more to bring in daylight to alleviate having to operate lights during the day. A lot of our bathrooms have either skylights or higher glass windows to bring the daylight in. That’s true not only in our bathrooms but in most of our facilities because of our really high-use and -abuse environment. We used durable materials that are easily cleanable and don’t require a lot of maintenance instead of materials that have shorter life cycles.”