Jane E. Heminger Hall, an education 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 facilitate the student experience through nature-based design, modernized lecture halls, a kitchen and small areas to take a break from what can be a long program. Laurel Van Dromme, chief of strategic partnerships and special projects at Ohio State, said the construction of Heminger Hall and the renovation to the first floor of Newton Hall cost $30.7 million.
“Having an environment that’s as supportive of health and wellness as our program here at the university just aligns the kind of what we do and the way we think or learn or practice or work with the spaces 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 certified well, meaning it has received passing grades in its environmental characteristics that affect health and human well-being. These characteristics include air, water, food, light, fitness, comfort and mind, according to WELL v2 Building Standard.
The Heminger family promised a gift of naming for the building in 2021 after Jane Heminger’s career as a nurse. Gary Heminger, husband of Jane Heminger and member of the Ohio State Board of Trusteessaid at a virtual groundbreaking ceremony that 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 the key features of Heminger Hall is its focus on natural sounds, images and light. She said the design was inspired by a winter garden, complete with real indoor trees, a fireplace, natural wood trim, large windows and the soothing sound of running water.
“Bringing in natural sunlight makes a huge difference to an individual’s attitude and emotional well-being,” Van Dromme said.
Katie Strayer, a third-year nursing major and hall student assistant, said the new features in Heminger Hall make a massive physical and mental difference in one’s ability to learn and focus.
“I have a class on Mondays that’s three and a half hours long,” Strayer said. “Nursing lectures, the further you get into the program, tend to get denser and longer, so when you’re sitting in a dark room for that long, you can’t learn. You get distracted. In a more breathable space, I think it will be really conducive to long lectures.”
Van Dromme said Heminger Hall classrooms are built with long lectures in mind as all desks are properly spaced and have outlets to allow students to plug in their tablets and laptops.
For non-nursing students and faculty, Strayer said the new building still has a lot to offer in terms of health and wellness.
“I think the open lighting and all the greenery and 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 feel comfortable 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 themselves.
Strayer said the building has rooms where students can rest whenever they need to.
“We also have these things called break rooms,” Strayer said. “It’s basically a chair or two, a little table and a lamp, and then you can just close and close it and then it’s literally just a wellness room for you to take a break from everything.”