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ETBU Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses recognized by Learning by Design

November 19, 2018

East Texas Baptist University’s Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses received an Outstanding Project Award for excellence in educational facility design in the Fall 2018 edition of Learning by Design, the premier source for education design innovation and excellence.

“We thank God for continually blessing ETBU with a faculty and staff, who are committed to providing excellence in Christ-centered education; contract partners, who are incredibly skillful in crafting these beautiful facilities; the dedicated leadership of Chris Crawford and Cameron Burger in leading these projects; and the benevolence of our donors to water the seed planted in faith to build these magnificent facilities for our campus community,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn shared.

Learning by Design’s jury of eight architects applauded ETBU for its accomplishment in designing the ETBU Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses. All projects included in this edition are blind-peer-reviewed. The jury looks for each project’s new and unique concepts implemented to improve education facility building design. Projects are scored on six measures: innovation, community need, interior design, sustainability, functional design, and 21st century learning.

“I am thankful for our donors, who generously provided the resources necessary to sustain the growing enrollment at ETBU,” ETBU Vice President for Student Affairs Heather Hadlock said. “The Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses allow students to continue building tight-knit community. I enjoy seeing students gather and fellowship on the front lawn.”

With the impact of growing enrollment on residence life, ETBU constructed the Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses to replace the dilapidated Van Zandt Apartments built in the early 1970s. The on-campus residential development offers a modern living-learning student row house community for up to 132 residents. The row houses offer furnished bedrooms, living room, dining area, full-size kitchen, laundry room, and walk-in closets. University Park also includes outdoor recreational parks with a walking trail, fishing pond, swimming pool, basketball court, and sand volleyball courts, open to the campus and local community.

“The addition of the outdoor recreational center has been a key part of my educational experience because it provides an outlet to relax and fellowship with others on campus and in the community,” ETBU senior Athletic Training major Reid Adams commented. “The growth I have seen in my walk with Christ would not be possible if it were not for the Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses. My roommates and I are constantly pushing each other closer to Christ and helping each other become the men of God He has called us to be. Our row house has been a place for brotherhood and accountability.”

By investing in the University Park, ETBU is planting seeds for neighborhood revitalization and economic development within the city of Marshall. The project was constructed by local contractors and tradesmen on a scenic knoll with mature, 50-year-old Live Oak and Shumardi Red Oak trees, providing a shade canopy, which supports the University’s commitment to campus forestation and sustainability. According to students, the new housing enables them to abide in Christ and be immersed in a supportive and accountable environment.

“I am blessed to have a semi-secluded, large space to carry out my studies,” ETBU junior Nursing major Chloe Jenkins explained. “As a leader for ETBU’s Titus Women’s Ministry, I am also able to open up my home to my group every week. There is so much room and my girls always tell me how comfortable they feel when they are at my row house. Living in Park Row has been an incredible opportunity to have my own personal space, yet also enjoy the nature and exciting community of residents around me.”

Learning by Design circulates to more than 50,000 leaders at all levels of education – from early childhood and elementary schools to career-technical, college, and university-level institutions across the United States. For more information and to access the magazine’s digital edition, visit