The Heinola seminary is one of the seminaries founded in the late 1800’s as part of the crown’s countrywide construction project. The buildings are located in a focal point of Heinola at the end of the Perspektiivi park, nowadays better known as Maaherranpuisto.
The exterior architecture of the seminary buildings, the main building, the director's residence and the household buildings all have features of Swiss villa architecture, but also ancient Scandinavian ornamental elements. They were built in the 1800's and 1900's into the park-like grounds. The ground floors of two-storey buildings are made of brick and the second floor of wood. In addition to the old seminary buildings, there is a functionalist newer seminary building and a building designed as a dining hall for students.
The newest building in the seminary grounds, the pavilion-style seminary training school, was designed by Bertel Saarnio and completed in 1957. The area also includes the current music school block, which was built in the late 19th century as a training school for the Heinola seminary.
The seminaries established in late 1800’s and early 1900’s differ from their predecessors in that they were no longer coeducational: Rauma and Kajaani seminaries for male students; Raahe and Heinola for women. Also their architecture was different from earlier seminaries: in Jyväskylä, the buildings are large and made of stone and in Sortavala, completely made of wood, but in Heinola, the seminary buildings designed by Jac. Ahrenberg use a combination of the two materials. In addition to fire safety, the architect paid great attention to hygienic improvements (ventilation, lights and corridors). At this point, the students no longer lived within the seminary grounds, so no dormitories were needed.
Teacher training was transferred to the universities at the beginning of the 1970s, and the original independent status of the seminars ended.