Hands-On Healthcare Education

What makes a successful learning environment for training much-needed healthcare providers? Facilities geared toward experiential learning! Students today must learn differently while new information is being generate faster than ever before. Designers of healthcare teaching facilities are tasked with creating flexible, experiential learning environments to fulfill this need, and Schmidt Associates has worked with many collegiate partners to create facilities to train future healthcare providers.

Experiential learning requires flexible, hi-tech classrooms and laboratories, as well as unstructured learning spaces.

Classrooms must accommodate:

  • state-of-the art technology for technical medical equipment and information,
  • distance learning
  • digital display
  • flexible furniture for collaborative and varied learning
  • enough wireless data capacity for 4-6 devices per student

Marian University COM Classroom

Laboratories must address the many needs of simulation equipment, including technology to run high-fidelity mannequins, adequate space for medical furnishings and equipment, and appropriate infrastructure for simulated gasses and utilities.

Labs also need multiple support spaces: storage for equipment and supplies, information, display and set up space, and potentially small group meeting space. All of these may double the space need for laboratories.

Ivy Tech Franklin

Unstructured spaces are the “accidental” learning spaces that allow students to continue a learning moment with faculty, study in peer social groups, and study on their own while still feeling part of a larger learning group. Breakout spaces, extra large corridors, coffee bars, and lobby areas all provide space for enhanced learning and positive community building.

Marian COM Lounge


Schmidt Associates truly understands these varied learning environments and has expertise in uniting them into cohesive facilities. From the recently opened Marian University Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences (housing the first Catholic College of Osteopathic Medicine in the country), the Ivy Tech Dental Lab in Anderson that serves its community through free and reduced-cost dental care, the Marchant School of Nursing in Bloomington, and the IU Student Health Clinic, hands-on health science facilities are critical to addressing our healthcare crisis.

Ivy Tech Anderson Dental Clinic

As our population continues to grow and age, healthcare education is increasingly important to remedy the shortage of personnel to serve unique and changing healthcare needs. Higher education institutions have stepped up to fill this gap, and collaborative, hands-on training has become the standard pedagogy for medical, nursing and dental school programs.

If we can help transform your facility into an interactive environment for future healthcare professionals, reach out!

Q&A Session with Sarah Hempstead

SarahWhether it’s because of the Wonder Woman Barbie at her desk, the occasional client gift of glittered boots, or possibly the abundance of chicken stories, one conversation with Sarah Hempstead, AIA, LEED AP, and you will know she isn’t just a typical female in a male-dominated industry. Below, we sit down to have a conversation and get to our CEO a bit more.



Where did you go to school?
I’m a Catholic school kid—St. Teresa’s Elementary and then Catholic Central High School in Springfield, Ohio. I went to Ball State to study architecture and I also studied for a short time in Russia, at the Volgograd State University of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

What inspires you?
Art, literature, lots of traveling, and even other people’s work!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I would love to return to the Greek Islands. I traveled there as part of an architecture trip in college and fell in love with the place. Because of their constant exposure to multiple cultures at the International School of Indiana, I think my girls would really appreciate being able to see and experience the beauty.

What do you do in your free time?
I’m usually really easy to find—either at work or on the soccer field or cross country course watching my daughters. We are also really blessed to have a close friends and a large extended family nearby, so free time is rare but fun!

Favorite Book?
This is like picking your favorite child—it’s too hard! My recent favorites are All the Light We Cannot See and American Gods.

Do you have any pets?
My brother-in-law bought my husband six chicks for his birthday one year. He just showed up on our doorstep out of the blue with these chicks in a box. It took us a couple of months to construct a coop for them and they have been good entertainment ever since. Though we are down to only four, we eat a lot of eggs! We also have an Australian Shepard that I like much better than the chickens.

You have a lot of unusual “treasures” at your desk. Tell me about your favorite?
I think my favorite is the Wonder Woman Barbie (in disguise as a secretary in the navy). My mother in law gave her to me knowing I have always loved Wonder Woman. Growing up, I made my own bullet proof bracelets out of aluminum foil!

When not at work, Sarah can be found about town with her husband, Greg (also an architect at Schmidt Associates) and her two girls, Norah and Caitlyn.


Bringing Your Home to Work

When Schmidt Associates began in the mid-70’s, office design was based largely on the assumption that a worker was assigned a single, functional space, suited to a single task. The idea of comfort in the workplace was confined largely to the individual’s desk and focused on things like surface space, storage, and ergonomic design of things like telephones, chairs, and pens. This approach made it difficult to think of the impact of design on worker productivity outside of this narrow scope, and as a result, offices were often functional and even somewhat clinical.

In the past decade, smart designers have begun to think differently about how we use our spaces at work, and how productivity is affected by more than the comfort of a desk chair.

Looking Beyond Productivity, Great Design Considers a Worker’s Wellness.

Big companies are spending big money on their workers’ wellness to attract top talent and drive down insurance costs, but it has a larger impact on the organization in terms of productivity. But how can design help foster a worker’s wellness, happiness, and productivity? It starts by thinking about the space they occupy beyond the desk.


Regenstrief Headquarters – In-Office Gym

Consider a typical office environment with about 150 square feet of space per employee. Most of it isn’t occupied by their individual workspace, it’s common areas like break rooms, restrooms and the like. In order to really create a great work environment, it’s those extra, shared spaces that have become the area of focus. Adding some of the comforts of home to common areas in the office has recently become the norm.


Regenstrief Headquarters – Office Breakout Lounge Space

The stereotypical startup office is probably the easiest example for most to recall. The offices of Silicon Valley tech giants like Google and Facebook are often lauded for their quirky, comfy amenities that workers are free to use at their discretion. But you don’t have to be worth billions to give your employees the right kinds of spaces to enjoy away from their desk.

By re-imagining and devoting just a little extra time, effort, and resource to these common areas, we can see how the bland and boring break room can become a coffee bar that employees love to take meetings in. A breakout room can replace cold, stiff tables and chairs with lounge seating and a whiteboard for low-stress meetings away from distractions.


Regenstrief Headquarters – Cafe

A 2015 study by Human Spaces found that simply having natural elements in the workplace created a 15% higher level of well-being and a 6% increase in productivity. Now, the office plays into recruitment and retention. How do you stack up?

In the 40 years that Schmidt Associates has been designing office and work environments, a lot has changed, but our commitment to our client owners has not. How can we incorporate some homey comfort into your workplace to increase wellness and boost productivity? We’d love to work together to find out.

View our workplace projects here

Lake Central High School Earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification

Lake Central High School Earns EPA’s ENERGY STAR® Certification for Superior Energy Efficiency


Lake Central High School, has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ENERGY STAR certification, which signifies that the building performs in the top 25 percent of similar facilities nationwide for energy efficiency and meets strict energy efficiency performance levels set by the EPA.

“Lake Central is pleased to accept EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification in recognition of our energy efficiency efforts,” said principal Larry Veracco. “Through this achievement, we have demonstrated our commitment to environmental stewardship while also lowering our energy costs.”

Facilities that earn EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification use an average of 35 percent less energy than typical facilities and also release 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Lake Central High School improved its energy performance by managing energy strategically across the entire school and by making cost-effective improvements to its building. The school has prevented greenhouse gas emissions equal to the electricity use from 52.3 households for one year.

“Improving the energy efficiency of our nation’s buildings is critical to protecting our environment, “ said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of the ENERGY STAR Commercial & Industrial Branch. “From the boiler room to the board room, organizations are leading the way by making their buildings more efficient and earning EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification.”

To earn the ENERGY STAR, Lake Central High School took the following actions:

  1. Provided remote monitoring of the facility’s energy management systems and advised on any modifications that would improve efficiency or operation
  2. Conducted on-site meetings at the school to determine any modifications that may need to be made to the systems
  3. Conducted walk-throughs to assess the condition and operation of the mechanical systems and make recommendations on modifications to the sequence of operations in order to increase the energy efficiency of the building
  4. Analyze the electric and gas usage each month, benchmark that usage against similar facilities, and summarize the findings.
  5. Any modifications to improve efficiency or operation have been at no cost to the school corporation

EPA’s ENERGY STAR energy performance scale helps organizations assess how efficiently their buildings use energy relative to similar buildings nationwide. A building that scores a 75 or higher on EPA’s 1-100 scale may be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Commercial buildings that can earn the ENERGY STAR include offices, bank branches, data centers, financial centers, retail stores, courthouses, hospitals, hotels, K-12 schools, medical offices, supermarkets, dormitories, houses of worship, and warehouses.

ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR.

For more information about ENERGY STAR Certification for Commercial Buildings:

To check out a photo gallery of our Lake Central High School project, click here

Fourth in the Series of Four Core Principles of Design at Schmidt Associates – A Closer Look at the Integrity Principle

Design at Schmidt Associates flows passionately and intentionally out of our Core Principles of Design.

The third of these principles is Integrity. Design solutions should be conceptually clear at all levels of design – with aspects as broad as the overall layout and spatial relationships to the detailing of elements to be consistent with the building’s character. There should be a thoughtful and honest use of materials to provide a full appreciation for such details, which can do so much to enhance a space.

Designs must be developed to be in scale and proportion with their context in order to enhance their neighborhood. Building and site circulation should be developed with clarity for efficiency and to facilitate ease of use. Designs should seek a functional and economical balance between simple efficiency and a palpable spirit and energy, while retaining a sense of overall timelessness relative to its character.

Questions to consider include:

  • Does the building and site layout promote logical circulation patterns that create not only efficient, but safe and secure movement as well?
  • Does it take advantage of axial relationships of spaces and maximize exposure to the prime site views while effectively shielding the less desirable views?
  • Are all aspects of the design well considered in their next larger context – the detail to the space, the space to the building, the building to its site context and community?
  • Does the building massing have a scale and proportion that are in balance?

Ultimately, the best building designs do not have a trendy application of design motifs, but rather a sense of timelessness that will allow it to endure as a respected member of the community of building in which it resides. A building that its users will be proud to live and work in and its guests will look forward to visiting for a long time.

To quote Eliel Saarinen, “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.”

Read about our first principle of design – Strategic 

Read about our second principle of design – Stewardship

Turning Vision into Implementation: An Actionable Master Plan

SCUP North Central Regional Conference

October 4, 2016

Sarah Hempstead, Lisa Gomperts, Audra Blasdel (Marian University)





Quality Pavement Award

Mississinewa High School – Football and Track Stadium

Asphalt Pavement Association of Indiana