Education Village renames building after professor


Archived Photo

In this photo from our April 18 edition, the new education village, located on Waubasha Street, is being remodeled for education majors.

Kellen Brandt, Features Reporter

Winona State University’s Education Village is getting closer to its completion. One of the three buildings making up the village, formerly known as Wabasha Hall, has been renamed to Dr. Donna J. Helble Hall in honor of late professor emerita.

Helble was a professor of education at Winona State from 1988 until 2012 when she retired. During Helble’s time at Winona State, she also served as a Trustee on the Winona State Foundation Board and dedicated a great deal of her time to serving others at Winona State and in the Winona community.

Wabasha Hall was named after the street it is on and has been a part of Winona State since 2007. Built in 1953, the hall will be a prominent fixture in the historic lowtech classrooms and the interactive, technology enabled classrooms the Education Village plans to offer.

Tarrell Portman, Dean of Education at Winona State, worked with Helble.

“Dr. Helble was an amazing person who was dedicated to serving others. Her passion for reading led her to champion Reading on the Mall, Young Writer’s Conference, Books for Children in Classrooms, and much more,” Portman said.

Helble left a legacy estate gift to the Winona State University Foundation when she died in March 2017. Winona State used this gift to form the Dr. Donna J. Helble Education Village Endowment in spring 2018. With the help of Helble, the Education Village can flourish.

“It is important to note this building is being named after a dedicated faculty member. It is rare to have this opportunity and honor,” Portman said.

Dr. Donna J. Helble Hall is one of the three buildings that are being turned into Winona State’s Education Village. Wabasha Recreation Center and Cathedral Hall are the other remaining buildings that will make up the village.

In keeping the history alive, Dr. Donna J. Helble Hall will have three floors that reflect how much education has changed through time. The lower floors will be historic and help students to remember a time before education was filled with technology.

Opposite of that, the upper level of Dr. Donna J. Helble Hall will be completely modernized and have state of the art technology.

The Education Village will benefit more than just Winona State students. Education Village will also be the home of the Children’s Center, provide training for educators in the community and hold a number of camps for kids and different groups from the area.   

Winona State’s Education Village in underway and is proposed to be completed in fall 2019. The grand opening of Education Village will also be the formal dedication to Helble.

“Dr. Helble was a person who made you smile and laugh. She always had a huge smile that was contagious. I admired and respected her. She loved Winona State University and was a tireless supporter of the Education Village,” Portman said.