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Learning by Design recognizes ETBU Tiger Softball Clubhouse

December 6, 2018

East Texas Baptist University 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. The ETBU Tiger Softball Clubhouse has been recognized for its architectural and interior design and having next generation benchmark type design and planning features worthy of imitation.

“This award recognizes our effort to emulate Christ in our competition, facilities, interactions, and beyond,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn said. “The goal of this project was to bring honor and glory to God through Christ-centered, discipleship-focused sports. Every contact with our Tigers is an opportunity for them to minister and be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. Through the construction of this sports facility, we advance the gospel of Jesus as we bring national attention to the Christ-centered mission and core values of our University.”

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

The Jury comments about this project included, “Great facility for women athletes to be celebrated in grand fashion! I like the rocking chairs on the veranda. The facility embraces the spirit of competition and community connection. The architectural vernacular speaks in Southern charm. From the red bricks, to the white colonnades, and the green fields. The bathrooms have great attention to detail and the elements and finishes are very upscale. Quite a beautiful locker room.”

With Classical Georgian architecture akin to ETBU’s campus, the sustainable design features modern, energy efficient air, lighting, and window systems. Construction materials included locally sourced lumber from the East Texas Piney Woods. ETBU also installed artificial turf made of recycled plastics and rubber for water conservation around the clubhouse and on the adjacent Taylor Field, along with padded outfield walls for player safety and seating for an enhanced fan experience. The Tiger Softball Clubhouse affords ETBU to engage the community through offering sports clinics for local children, conducting youth camps, and hosting high school games.

“This is a great award for ETBU and the Tiger Softball program,” ETBU Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin said. “We are grateful to our faithful supporters, alumni, coaches, and staff, who have enabled us to construct one of the top facilities in the country. ETBU Softball strives for excellence within their program, and we have been blessed to provide them a first-class facility, which will enable our coaching staff to continue to recruit the highest caliber student-athletes, who desire to be in a Christ-centered program.”

The Clubhouse provides a place to build community and challenges students to invest in their intellectual, spiritual, and physical development. From innovative technology to artistic décor, the Clubhouse was created to empower and equip student-athletes to fulfill their potential. Team accolade exhibits and Nike game-day displays enable current and prospective Tigers to celebrate program accomplishments and aspire to become better in the classroom and on the field.

“We are honored to receive recognition from Learning by Design for our ETBU Tiger Softball Clubhouse,” ETBU Head Softball Coach Janae Shirley said. “The Clubhouse has opened the door for our program in many ways, and the unique design elements of the building showcase how special our program is.  This building has provided a place for us to grow and develop our players spiritually, academically, and athletically, and we are blessed to call it home.”

Tiger Athletics believes in building players that become ambassadors for Christ in their field of study. Tiger Softball alumni and current student-athletes are grateful for the support and encouragement of those, who generously gave and have recognized the hard work and success of the program.

“My teammates and I are encouraged by the amazing donors that have contributed to our clubhouse and field,” ETBU junior Accounting major and Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee Morgan Arst shared. “We have an entire community outside of ETBU that believes in us and helps us believe in ourselves. We use the clubhouse for Bible studies, hanging out and building relationships with our teammates, and as a quiet place to study. It is a place where we can focus on growing closer to each other while growing in our faith.”

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