The Ohio State University will be opening a new home for the College of Nursing. Credit: Cori Wade
Jane E. Heminger Hall, an educational building in the College of Nursing, opened to the public Monday and is centered around a design that promotes health and wellness opportunities for students and faculty.
The hall is designed to ease student experience through natural-based design, modernized lecture halls, a kitchen and small areas to take a break from what can be a lengthy program. Laurel Van Dromme, chief of strategic partnerships and special projects at Ohio State, said the construction of Heminger Hall and renovations to the first floor of the connected Newton Hall cost $30.7 million.
“To have an environment be as supportive of health and well-being as our program here at the university just aligns sort of what we do and how we think or teach or practice or work with the spaces that we’re in,” Van Dromme said.
Van Dromme said Heminger Hall, located at 1577 Neil Ave., will be the first Ohio State building to be WELL-certified, meaning it received passing scores in its features of the environment that impact human health and wellbeing. These features include air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind, according to the WELL v2 Building Standard.
The Heminger family pledged a naming gift for the building in 2021 after Jane Heminger’s career as a nurse. Gary Heminger, Jane Heminger’s husband and member of the Ohio State Board of Trustees, said at a virtual groundbreaking ceremony he was proud of his wife’s past work and believes in the board’s vision for “transforming health and improving lives.”
Van Dromme said one of Heminger Hall’s main features is its focus on natural sounds, imagery and light. She said the design was inspired by a winter garden, complete with real indoor trees, a fireplace, natural wood finishes, large windows and the quiet sounds of running water.
“Bringing in the natural sunlight makes a big difference for an individual’s attitude and emotional well-being,” Van Dromme said.
Katie Strayer, a third-year in nursing and student assistant at the hall, said the new features in Heminger Hall make a massive physical and mental difference in one’s ability to learn and focus.
“I have one class on Mondays that is three and a half hours long,” Strayer said. “Nursing lectures, the further you get into the program, tend to get more dense and longer, so when you’re sitting in a dark room for that long, you can’t learn. You get distracted. In a space that’s more breathable, I think it’ll be really conducive to the long lectures.”
Van Dromme said Heminger Hall’s classrooms have been built with long lectures in mind as all the tables are spaced out properly and have outlets to allow students to plug in their tablets and laptops.
For students and faculty not in nursing, Strayer said the new building still has plenty to offer in terms of health and wellness.
“I think that the open lighting and all the greenery and the natural wood on the walls is a very welcoming environment if you need to take a break,” Strayer said. “It’s not as hectic of a study environment as other buildings can be.”
Van Dromme said students and employees can get a homey feel in the Barbara and Lawrence Berger Demonstration Nutrition Kitchen on the first floor to eat, learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals they can make for themselves.
Strayer said the building has rooms where students can take a break whenever they need to.
“We also have these things called respite rooms,” Strayer said. “It’s basically a chair or two, a little table and a lamp, and then you can just close it and lock it and then it’s literally just a wellness room for you to take a break from everything.”
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