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A Perspective on Pools

At Schmidt Associates, we know pools are community assets—no matter their location. Today’s generation is able to experience pools built for specific purposes to maximize the experience and benefit. There are four basic categories of pools: competition and diving, instructional, recreational, and therapy pools.

  1. Competition and diving pools are designed and constructed to meet strict state and national guidelines that regulate the length of swimming lanes, the depth of the water, the height of the diving boards and starting blocks, the illumination levels, the air quality, and the temperature and chemical composition of the water. Competition pool and diving pools are either in the same pool tank with different depths of water, or as separate tanks in the same facility.
  2. Instructional pools are usually part of an overall aquatics program that feeds into a competition swimming program. This type of pool can be adapted from a competition pool to maximize investment. Typically, a “shallow” entry point to accommodate instruction can be located in the middle of the pool. Depths associated with racing dives from the “ends” of the competition pool are suggested at seven feet. If there is sufficient room around the pool, there could also be an adjacent entry pool that is outside of the defined swimming lanes.

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    Munster High School Competitive and Instructional Pool

  3. Recreational pools place the emphasis on “fun”. In these facilities, competition components are not primary functions. Though some may have lap pool components—water slides, spray features, and lazy rivers are the primary features. Also different from competition and instructional facilities, recreational pools are warmer environments. A higher rate of water filtration and air circulation are also found in recreational pools.
  4. Therapy pools have very specific applications for physical or occupational therapies. Assisted access and water jets are key components, as well as in-pool windows for observation. This allows therapists standing outside of the pool to monitor patients as necessary. Water temperatures are usually the highest in these types of facilities.

Any of these pool types could be indoor or outdoor—but in Indiana’s climate, an indoor facility is the only year-round option. Schmidt Associates delivers responsive, aquatic environments to meet the most demanding aquatic challenges—no matter the type of pool. From the fastest, smoothest, most competitive water, to the relaxing swish of a lazy river, Schmidt Associates has 40 years of experience in exceeding expectations, creating environments to break records and stretch smiles, and providing the backgrounds for the memories that last a lifetime.


Take a look at all of our aquatics experience:

 

 

 

Impacts of Growing your Business Beyond 50 People

Great news! Your business is booming, and it is time for you to find a new location that serves the needs of your business and growing staff. You have possibly gotten by with renting a small space, maybe just a few rooms in an office building or a co-working space. But now you need a space of your own, and you don’t know what to do. If your business is still relatively small you can probably work with a local interior designer and get what you need for your new space. However, if your business is pushing or has passed the 50-person mark, I suggest you hire an architect specializing in workplace design.

Indiana uses the International Building Code and there are many additional code implications, mostly relating to egress, that need to be addressed when you are designing spaces for over 49 people. Your local architect is going to know and have experience working within these requirements to help you design a space that not only serves the needs of your business, but also keeps your employees and visitors safe. Let me tell you a little story about why this is so important.

I attended a meeting at a recently renovated office of a local Indianapolis business the other day and was very impressed with the space, until it was time to leave. When preparing to walk out the main door to the space, I noticed a deadbolt *gasp* right over the door handle! I quickly thought to myself that this new office space could easily support over 50 people. I look up. Sure enough, there is an exit sign over the door. Oh no!

Why does any of this matter you ask?

Architects are tasked with protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Making buildings and spaces safe environments for people is at the forefront of what we do. Making them look and function fabulously comes in at close second.

Being a licensed architect, I often find myself looking and noticing things that most people would never see. When I go through a space that has basic code infractions, my hackles go up a bit. Now, there was an attempt at correction made by a small sign affixed over the deadbolt saying something along the lines of “This door to remain unlocked during business hours”. But what about after hour functions, or if someone makes a mistake and forgets?

Or what if there is an emergency? As everyone is attempting to evacuate the space, what happens when they head for the door only to find it locked? People then pile up against each other pushing and shoving trying to get the heck out, but because of an inappropriate locking mechanism and high levels of panic, no one thinks of flipping the deadbolt. Not good. Properly designed, this door should be equipped with panic hardware – meaning you can push on it in a panic and the door will ALWAYS open. An exit sign should always mean “Go this way to safety and easily get out of this space”.

This is just one example of how an architect is needed to make sure you are getting a safe and functional space for your needs. So when you are ready to expand your business, give us a call. We can help you think through your options and determine if hiring an architect is the correct next step.

 

 

Synthetic Turf Fields 101

It always pays to know the advantages and disadvantages before making a big change for your facility. Deciding to switch from natural to synthetic turf is a good example of that. Synthetic turf fields are gaining popularity among sporting and recreational venues because of the lower maintenance costs and the perk of year-round use. However, natural turf is still here to compete with it’s lower upfront costs. So which is right for your facility?

Kyle Miller, Principal, Project Manager, and our expert on the topic, breaks it all down for you.

Also, check out our infographic comparing synthetic and natural turf

 

Improving your Business Through Office Design

Have you ever noticed that walking into some office spaces fills you with a sense of energy and excitement while others make you want to curl up and take a nap?

Good design can help engage employees and create an environment that makes them more excited to come to work every day.

Studies show that adjusting certain design elements can have a direct impact on improving your business through the effects it has on employees. Thinking through how you develop your office space can help create an environment that allows for happier and more productive employees, reduce turnover, and increase your bottom line.

Take a look at how we’ve designed for productivity, collaboration, and innovation – using Regenstrief Institute Headquarters as our project example.

Give it a Shot

Did you know Schmidt Associates has developed an expertise in the niche field of outdoor Shooting Ranges? With about 55 million Americans owning a gun, the need for safe and secure ranges has increased. Flip through our Issuu publication on shooting ranges, and learn about best design practices on these projects:

 

 

 

 

Adding Value

Schmidt Associates was founded on the guiding principle of Servant Leadership. This value threads itself through every interaction we have both internally and externally, resulting in a constant search to add value in every project. Flip through the magazine below to see five examples of how we have added value to our recent projects by focusing on culture shifts, energy savings, telling the story through facility design and being a true one-stop-shop for our Owners.

 

 

The Heart of the Placemaking Process

Every place evokes feelings for people. A great place feels welcoming, exciting, curious, comforting—and maybe even inspiring. Your designated place always has the opportunity to evoke vastly different feelings than it does now. In downtown places, reinvestment from all parties is evident and necessary—and generates a lot of interest and excitement. A Placemaking Plan does just that—it defines an area within the community as a place of significance and puts a plan in place to reflect that vision. The process includes cultivating new ideas and generating partnerships that share in the investment and creativity of the place.
Placemaking-Process

1. Gain Input

  • Community Workshop: The targeted audience for the workshop is neighboring residents, business, and property owners. Serves as the community’s foundation for discovering and sharing:
    • Placemaking best practices nation-wide
    • Real-time information
    • Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
    • Initial programming thoughts and priorities
    • Conceptual design ideas
  • Small-Group Stakeholder Meetings: The purpose of these types of meetings is gathering stakeholders in a casual environment to share their interest and influence for the project. We brainstorm their ideas to continue building momentum and support for a civic place. Typical targeted attendees would be specific property/business owners, university and city representatives, chamber of commerce officials, and convention and visitors bureau representatives.
  • Community Empowerment: The transformation of places is intentional so the community will feel a sense of ownership about its recreation as a vibrant public space. This step is crucial. Begin educating and generating ideas at the community workshop and stakeholder workshop. To create community empowerment, Schmidt Associates has found that allowing physical and deliberate interaction with the space is essential.

2. Visualize Ideas
Just like places evoke emotions, so do illustrations. Understand the importance of vivid sketches and renderings. The right image can help raise support, funding, and excitement for any project.

3. Plan For Action
Planning to make action has to be intentional. In all of Schmidt Associates’ planning work, we detail a roadmap for leadership to take action.

 

 

Red Flags for your Construction Project: Part 2

Everyone involved with a construction project hopes to avoid challenges or hiccups along the way. What warnings or red flags should you look out for if “smooth sailing” doesn’t seem to be the direction your project is going? We came up with a list of 12. We’ve touched on the first half, lets look at the last six:

RED FLAG #7: Ignoring or dismissing General Requirements (Division 01)
General requirements order how a project is to proceed, including payments, changes, substitutions, meetings, coordination, mockups, and closeout. Part of the contract documents, these requirements often are dismissed by a contractor when challenges surface.

 

RED FLAG #8: Unrealistic construction schedule
The construction schedule is a map the contractor makes to spell out how to get from here (incomplete project) to there (complete project). It provides direction on when tasks are to be completed. Unless the construction schedule has subcontractors’ agreement, it is unrealistic. The bigger problem may be that each subcontractor (or crew) determines what to install when it sees fit, at the expense of the project as a whole.

 

RED FLAG #9: Slippage from unrealistic construction schedule
If work durations expand or milestones are missed, the contractor must present a corrective action plan to get back on schedule, or the projected completion date will slip further behind.

 

RED FLAG #10: Ignoring or dismissing an updated construction schedule
If the contractor is reluctant to update and distribute the construction schedule when it needs to be changed (see red flag #9), all parties are forced to get from hereto there without a map. This is not a good idea and will likely result in rework.

 

RED FLAG #11: Blame-shifting
A contractor who resorts to blaming anyone (Owner, architect, subcontractors) or anything (weather, material availability, existing conditions) else for poor performance is usually grasping at straws. There are legitimate reasons why a contractor may have challenges, but resorting to blame-shifting for their contractual responsibility indicates you may be past the point of expecting a good outcome.

 

RED FLAG #12: Taking excessive risks relating to sequencing/weather
Installing products out of sequence (i.e. installing drywall before the roof), and failing to protect installed work (wet drywall) indicates the contractor is taking too great a risk by gambling on the weather.


Our list of 12 red flags is not exhaustive, but they are the ones we consider to be the most common when a construction project goes awry.

Have you observed these red flags (or any others) on your projects? Let us know. We’ll share your experiences on our blog so others can learn from them.

Read Part 1 here

 

 

 

Red Flags for your Construction Project: Part 1

Everyone involved with a construction project hopes to avoid challenges or hiccups along the way. What warnings or red flags should you look out for if “smooth sailing” doesn’t seem to be the direction your project is going? We came up with a list of 12, but let’s start with the first half:

RED FLAG #1: Incomplete Bidding Documents or Qualifications
When specifications require the contractor or its employees (project manager or superintendent) to submit “similar project experience,” verify the submitted documentation. Visit the contractor’s website, check references with Owners and subcontractors, search Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. You’ll never again have more leverage with a contractor than you do before you sign the contract.

 

RED FLAG #2: Incomplete Initiation Documents
Executing initiation documents, such as submittal and preliminary construction schedule, subcontractors and products list, LEED action plan, performance and payment bonds, and certificate(s) of insurance, before the contractor mobilizes is critical to starting the project on the right foot. These documents are not just “hoops to jump through.”

 

RED FLAG #3: Slow Mobilization
Most contractors are eager to begin construction since it provides operating cash flow. If your contractors are slow to begin (or mobilize), they may be revealing a general lack of initiation or an incomplete project plan.

 

RED FLAG #4: Slow Submittals
In general, subcontractors will not begin work until they have an executed contract from the contractor. If you do not have a flurry of submittals in the first month, it may indicate your contractor is unable to get subcontractors to commit for their proposed bid amount—a tell-tale sign their bid may not cover the cost of the work.

 

RED FLAG #5: Changing Subcontractors
Once contract(s) have been executed, the construction team (contractor, subcontractors, and suppliers) should be fixed, barring bankruptcy, legal action, or other unforeseen catastrophic event. Changing subcontractors for other reasons usually indicates your contractor is “shopping the job”— attempting to reduce costs and pocketing the difference.

 

RED FLAG #6: Installation Proceeding Without Being Previously Approved
Contractors propose submittals (product data, shop drawings, etc.) indicating what products they intend to furnish and how they intend to install those materials. If products are delivered to the site and (even worse) installed without being properly submitted and reviewed by the architect, this may indicate your contractor is worried about the progress of the schedule and attempting to cut corners. The architect’s review of submittals is a critical quality-control measure that should not be omitted.

 

Read Part 2

 

 

 

Trends in Church Design

We have been fortunate to have many wonderful church projects come through our office. Let’s take a quick moment and reflect on some of the current trends we are seeing when it comes to designing these sacred spaces.


Multi-Site Approach – Growing a congregation and reaching out to new believers has long been a focus area. Now, in lieu of placing addition after addition to a single site and creating a large megachurch, many Owners are focusing on increasing their reach through the creation of multisite ministries. These smaller congregations allow for greater connection between members while acting out of the proven established principals created by the founding church body.

Beyond Sunday – Sunday continues to boast the largest attendance for religious facilities, but leaders are spending more time focusing on ways to attract people to be involved during the other 85% of the week. Imbedded coffee shops, libraries, technology-infused gathering spaces, and children’s play spaces are finding their way into the fabric of the building. These types of spaces are engaging existing and new members to these multifaceted buildings.

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Cornerstone Lutheran Church Fishers – Play Area

Foster Fellowship – In a time when everyone is moving at a breakneck pace, places that allow people to take a moment to slow down are central to survival. Churches are capitalizing on this by creating larger common spaces and small, incidental places for people to connect with each other. These areas engage attendants and allow them to learn that there is more to do than just come in for Sunday service.

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Cornerstone Lutheran Church Fishers – Common Area

Community Centric – Churches are increasing their due diligence in deciding where to place their new or expanded church home. They are asking questions around demographics and looking at community needs so they can tailor their facilities and services to fill gaps and be even better community partners.

Flexibility is Key – In today’s fast-paced society things are always changing – and changing rapidly.
Like any facility, churches must also be ready and able to adapt to change. Multipurpose entry spaces, flexible classrooms, and smaller chapels can serve a variety of needs for daily activities.

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Cornerstone Lutheran Church Carmel – Small Chapel