Jane E. Heminger Hall opens doors to promote health and wellness with relaxation rooms and natural design

The Ohio State University will open a new home for the College of Nursing. Credit: Corey Wade

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 natural design, modernized lecture halls, a kitchen and small areas to rest from what can be a long programme. Laurel Van Dromme, director of strategic partnerships and special projects at Ohio State, said the construction of Heminger Hall and renovations to the first floor of the related Newton Hall cost $30.7 million.

“Having an environment that supports health and well-being as our program here at the university simply aligns what we do and how we think, teach, practice or work with the spaces we’re in,” Van Drome said.

Van Dromme said Heminger Hall, located at 1577 Neil Ave., will be the first building in Ohio State to be WELL certified, meaning it has received positive results for environmental characteristics that impact human health and well-being. These characteristics include air, water, food, light, fitness, comfort and mind, according to WELL v2 Building Standard.

The Hemminger family promised a name gift for the building in 2021 following Jane Hemminger’s career as a nurse. Gary Heminger, Jane Heminger’s husband and member of the Ohio State Board of Trusteessaid at a virtual groundbreaking ceremony that he was proud of his wife’s previous work and believed in the board’s vision for “transforming health and improving lives.”

Van Drome said one of the main features of Heminger Hall is the focus on natural sounds, images and light. She said the design was inspired by a conservatory complete with real indoor trees, a fireplace, natural wood paneling, large windows and the soft sounds of running water.

“Bringing in natural sunlight makes a big difference to an individual’s attitude and emotional well-being,” Van Drome said.

Katie Strayer, a third-year nursing major and student assistant in the hall, said the new features in Heminger Hall make a huge physical and mental difference in one’s ability to study and focus.

“I have one class on Monday 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 so long, you can’t learn. You get distracted. In a space that is more breathable, I think it will be really conducive to long lectures.”

Van Drome said Heminger Hall classrooms are built with long lectures in mind, as all desks are spaced properly 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 the natural wood on the walls is a very welcoming environment if you need to rest,” Strayer said. “It’s not as stressful a learning environment as other buildings can be.”

Van Drome said students and staff can get a sense of home in the Barbara and Lawrence Berger Food Demonstration Kitchen on the first floor to eat, learn how to cook and prepare healthy meals they can prepare themselves.

Strayer said the building has rooms where students can rest when 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 it and lock it and then it’s literally just a wellness room to take a break from everything.”

Leave a Comment