History of the Campuses and Buildings of the University of Rochester
United States Hotel Prince Street Campus Eastman School of Music Medical Center River Campus Mid-Campus South Campus Mt. Hope Campus Graduate, Family and Veteran Housing Central Utilities Other Off-Site Buildings
Medical Center Helen Wood Hall

Nurses' Dormitory in October 1926.

Aerial View of Helen Wood Hall in November 1933
Aerial View of Helen Wood Hall in January 1951 Aerial View of Helen Wood Hall in 2010 with Loretta C. Ford Wing Artist's rendering of 2022 expansion

A School of Nursing was included in the new School of Medicine and Dentistry and nurses were houses in a 260-bed dormitory built on the side side of Crittenden Boulevard that partially opened in September 1925..

A two-story addition was built in 1944 to house 30 additional nursing students.  The building was named Helen Wood Hall in 1934 in honor of Helen Wood (1882-1974), first director of the School of Nursing (1925-1931).

In 1972, the School of Nursing was established as an independent school within the University and Helen Wood Hall was converted from a residence hall to a school of nursing—dormitories were converted to offices, classrooms, and clinical lab space, but funding limitations delayed this until the 1990s.  Residential Life rented the space to house undergraduate until 1991.

The Loretta C. Ford Education Wing was added in 2006 and an expansion of that wing was completed in May 2022..

1924 "Construction of Dormitory for Nurses, Third of University Group, Begins," Democrat and Chronicle, June 24, 1924, Page 22.

1925 "The Place of the Student Nurse in the Nursing Service of the Hospital," by Helen Wood, The American Journal of Nursing 25(3):183-187 (March 1925)

1925 "Medical College Nurses' Home to House 200 When Completed; Superintendent Takes Charge," Democrat and Chronicle, September 3, 1925, Page 17. | Part 2 |

1934 "U.R. Trustees Hail Whipple Nobel Award," Democrat and Chronicle, December 16, 1934, Page 3B. | Part 2 |
The nurses' dormitory of the School of Medicine and Dentistry hereafter will be known as Helen Wood Hall, for the first superintendent of nursing and director of the training school.  Miss Wood is now professor at Simmons College, Boston.

1936 The First Decade 1926-1936 
Page 28: The Nurses' Dormitory, a four-story brick building with\par accommodations for 250 student and graduate nurses, is situated on the south side of Crittenden Boulevard. Construction on it was begun on February 26, 1924.
Page 93:  On September 15, 1925, sixteen students entered the first section of the diploma course and the class schedule for the preliminary term was begun even though the corridors of the Nurses' Dormitory were filled with carpenters, plumbers and painters and the general entrance was through a fire escape. ine students representing seven different states entered the School the following January.
Page 94:  Miss Helen Wood remained Director of the School of Nursing until August, 1931, when she resigned to become Acting Director of the School of Nursing at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She has since been appointed Director of the School of Nursing at Simmons College in Boston. To her experience, judgment and foresight, much of the successful planning and present operating efficiency of the Hospital is due. At the suggestion of the Alumnae Association, Miss Wood's work has been commemorated by naming the Nurses' Dormitory "Helen Wood Hall" in her honor.

1950 The First Quarter Century 1925-1950  
Page 28: The School of Nursing, organized by Miss Helen Wood, admitted its first class of sixteen students in September, 1925, even though the corridors of the Nurses' Dormitory were filled with carpenters, plumbers, and painters and the general entrance was through a fire escape. The School bulletin of that year announced a diploma course of twenty-eight months and a five-year course leading to a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Nursing.
Page 29:  An addition to Helen Wood Hall with accommodations for thirty students and one classroom was constructed in 1944. Two vacant hospital divisions in Wing Q were also used to provide more rooms for student nurses.

1957 Planning and Construction Period of the School and Hospitals 1921-1925. bu George H. Whipple, M.D.| pdf |
Page 31:  Construction of the Nurses' Home began in February, 1924, and was pushed along rapidly toward completion. It was placed on piles because of underlying quicksand. This four-story brick building had accommodations for 250 student and graduate nurses. Plans for an extra wing had been drawn, extending from the west end of the present building south, but it was decided not to construct it at that time. That wing could be used to much advantage today had it been built then.

1961 "Exiled Co-eds Discuss Plight, Await Construction of Dorm," Campus Times, December 15, 1961, Page 3.
Twenty-two River Campus women will have to live at the nurses' residence, Helen Wood Hall.

1974 "Helen Wood of Newton, 92, director of nursing schools," The Boston Globe, September 24, 1974, Page 48.

1975 To each his farthest star:  The University of Rochester Medical Center -1925-1975, edited by Edward C. Atwater and John Romano.
Page 261:  The reality of war in Europe and its effects on civilian life was brought forcibly home to the Medical Center on August 24, 1940. On that day, on a railroad siding in the Goodman Street yards of the New York Central Railroad, 42 children, ages 5 to 14, reached the end of a long and frightening journey from their homes in England. They were the children of employees of Kodak in Britain and had been sent to be the guests of Kodak families here when the Battle of Britain (August 8 – mid-September, 1940) was devastating England's cities. As these solemn and apprehensive youngsters arrived at Helen Wood Hall, they were welcomed by an eager group of members of the Aide Services, and Hospital and nursing personnel. At their first breakfast in the student cafeteria some children were. baffled by how to eat such unfamiliar food as bananas, which apparently they'd never seen. While waiting for arrangements for their placement to be completed, they were housed in Helen Wood Hall, but spent much of each day at the Harley School. By September 1 all children had gone to their foster families to stay until the end of the war.  Some of them remained here permanently, some later returned to go to school and, to the best of our knowledge, a few have made their lives here.
Page 275-276:  In July of 1942 the five-year degree course had been accelerated for the duration to enable students to complete their work in a little over four years.
This speedup, plus the large number of cadet nurses, led to a peak enrollment of 325 students in the spring of 1945. To accommodate everyone an addition, financed by federal funds, was added to Helen Wood Hall to house 33 students, and two floors in the Q Wing were converted to dormitories.

1991 "Helen Wood to close as residence hall," Campus Times, February 28, 1991, Page 1. | Part 2 |
There will be 70 less singles without Helen Wood Hall.

2022 UR School of Nursing Unveils $15M Addition to Helen Wood Hall, by Patrick Broadwater, May 6, 2022

History of the School of Nursing  

© 2021 Morris A. Pierce