Ranking campus bathrooms

A bathroom in the College of Law on Thursday, April 29, 2021, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Natalie Parks

Forget climbing walls in the recreation center or SmartBoards in the classroom – the campus amenity with the most day-to-day impact on student life are bathrooms. This is a space that, let’s fact it, everyone uses, and one that you’ll frequently encounter. Each building’s bathroom has a different style and different amenities, so the Kernel compiled this guide to help identify which bathroom is best suited to your needs. Bathrooms were evaluated on facilities, space, color coordination, selfie potential and social interaction. If you’re looking to dip out of an event, we recommend the women’s bathroom in the atrium of the Singletary Center (leather bench). Wanting to have a good cry, your best bet is a library stall. For more details, check out our rankings below: 

1. Main Floor, Rosenberg College of Law

The light! The space! The cleanliness! This bathroom earned the top spot with its big, big mirrors and incredibly spacious sink area – plenty of space so that you never have to squeeze awkwardly past another human. Along with well-lit sinks, there’s also a light dimmer to adjust the room and a bright color scheme that emphasizes how clean and new the space is. There’s also a coat rack with lots of hooks and outlets. Though there’s one stall that is consistently out, this bathroom has more stalls than most other bathrooms so it’s not a big deal. Plus, it has the fanciest paper towel dispensers and free, good tampons and pads provided by the Women’s Law Caucus.

2. Grehan Engineering Building, Main Floor

This bathroom smells kind of like the inside of a McDonald’s fry box after you’ve eaten all the fries, but it’s totally empty and has an outlet, so that’s a plus. Also, the stall doors go almost all the way to the floor for added privacy. However, the door to the bathroom is heavy but that’s offset by the newness and complementary color scheme of the inside.

3. UK Art Museum, Singletary Center

Spacious, great selfie lighting, calming, nearly always empty – there’s not much to say about these bathrooms except that they’re soothing. They just have a presence.

4. Lewis Honors College

Though spacious and clean, this bathroom has nothing special to offer the discerning guest. With lots of stalls and a warm color scheme, this space is utility itself. The arrangement of the entrance could lead to awkward positioning if there’s ever a line.

5. Third Floor, Gatton Student Center

Helpful hack for the student center – the bathrooms are on the same location on each floor. For privacy, the best bet is the first or third floor bathrooms. The main floor is always busy as it plays host to the visitors’ center and main entrance. Though the bathrooms are new, nicely constructed and spacious, their frequent use leaves a lot to be desired in cleanliness, with the trash occasionally overflowing. You’re likely to run into someone entering or exiting, and you may find yourself confronted with a long wait. But these bathrooms do have automatic door openers, unlike some of the more outdated buildings.

Bonus: Alumni Gym

The bathrooms in Alumni Gym, which sits inside the student center, are standard, spacious units. But, they also have showers, which is useful for post-gym sweat or if your dorm ever loses water. The showers have good water pressure but like all gym showers could have a better place to leave your stuff.

6. Gatton Business College, Main Floor

These bathrooms are good for one thing – there’s lots of stalls, but they can be busy during class change. The high volume of users gives little privacy, and the poor layout of the sink area means that at peak times the paper towel dispensers and trash cans are almost impossible to get to. Some of the bathrooms in Gatton can be hard to find, tucked away in the far hallway, but the teal color scheme on the outside is nice. All told, this is a bathroom for using the bathroom, but can be crowded and difficult to maneuver.

7. William T. Young Library, Basement

This bathroom is good if you’re looking to have a cry. It’s mostly always empty and has good acoustics, so if you needed to come in and just freak out for a little while it would probably be fine. This was good planning on the part of the university because the library is probably the building students are most likely to cry in. And, this bathroom has a clean, blank vibe so you can project whatever feelings you’re having on to the space. Though the actual stalls and sinks are nothing fancy, there’s a chair for putting your stuff on and a nice little entryway. Finishing touch – a big mirror so that after you cry you can evaluate how puffy your cheeks are.

8. First Floor, Jacobs Science Building

A euphemistic way to describe this bathroom would be airy. But actually, there’s just no door between the bathroom and the hallway. Though the stalls still have doors, the open concept space may still leave you feeling a little exposed. However, the gray color scheme and lighting do their job to make it as welcoming as a bathroom can be. The overall layout would be better if the trash cans were better incorporated into the sink area.

9. McVey Hall, Third Floor

The McVey bathrooms are kind of crummy, but in a way that people are also crummy, so the vibes match and it’s fine. The top floor bathroom has a weird mix of things going on, but it has a big window so the lighting is nice and it has a radiator so it’s always, always warm. The stalls themselves are kind of meh and there’s only two of them, so there can be a line (and if there is the position of the door means you’re going to hit someone who’s waiting when you enter or exit). But the best part of the McVey bathroom is that there is a full length mirror in caddy corner from the sink mirror, so you can see both the front and side of your appearance at the same time. And the full length mirror is tucked away behind where the door opens so if you want you can hide there and scare people when they come in.

10. Ground Floor, Main Building

Full length wood stall doors make this bathroom resemble a courthouse bathroom that two characters in an episode of Law & Order SVU would argue about when the judge calls a recess during a trial because someone mishandled evidence. It’s definitely old-fashioned, but the checkerboard floor gives off vintage UK vibes and the two-door entry means there’s twice as opportunities to collide with someone.

11. Patterson Office Tower, 12th Floor

This bathroom deserves a much lower ranking, but the tiling and walls are entirely yellow so it gets bonus points. There’s only two stalls and the entrance is awkward because of a dividing wall, but there’s an outlet and it serves as a tornado shelter. Plus, there’s a bench to rest your stuff on. And it’s yellow!

12. Thomas Poe Cooper Forestry building

While this bathroom is not technically nice, it nevertheless has a homey vibe. It was also updated in the last two years – but the wooden table and shelf remain, as does the radiator (dope!). This bathroom only has two stalls and navigating past the dividing wall and around the sink area is awkward, but that’s offset by the same comforting of being on an overnight school trip.

13. Basement, Lafferty Hall

This bathroom has the same vibe as a bathroom in a horror movie where the villain corners an unrealistically attractive teen and murders them with a hatchet while lights flicker on and off, and the bathroom design is totally on the side of the killer. There’s foyer with a wall for them to hide behind and a big window right up against the stall for a jump scare. However, the bathroom is spacious and has a shelf. The bizarre color choices but do distract a little from the creepy vibe.

Bonus: First Floor, Lafferty Hall

This bathroom has more furniture than stalls, including two chairs and a coat rack. If you need to have a tête-à-tête about existentialism while smoking a cigar and looking in a dingy mirror, welcome. But this is not the place to fix your make-up because the COVID-19 hand-washing reminder takes up the entire mirror in front of the sink, which is kind of small. However, the sitting area has four outlets to offset the confusing layout.

14. White Hall Classroom Building

White Hall bathrooms are the worst. The lighting is bad, they’re constantly busy and it seems like every time you swing open a stall the toilet is clogged. The layout is what makes these bathrooms so terrible; at peak times there’s constant crowding at the paper towel dispensers and no room between the sinks and stalls for people to walk to either one. The twists and turns right at the entrance mean you’re guaranteed to collide with someone every time you enter and exit, and that same set-up is not ADA compliant. Only use this bathroom if you have to, but be warned that during class change there’s going to be a long awkward line. And somehow they’re just never clean. They always feel kind of dingy and just not great. Avoid if you can.