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ETBU Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses recognized by American School & University

January 22, 2019

East Texas Baptist University’s Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses received an Outstanding Design Award in the Residence Hall category of American School & University’s Architectural Portfolio 2018, the sourcebook for award-winning and outstanding education design.

“We celebrate the unwavering commitment of our faculty and staff, contract partners, and generous donors to advance God’s vision for ETBU through the construction of the ETBU Louise Ornelas University Park Row Houses,” ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn shared. “The residence hall and recreational areas enhance the University’s Kingdom mission by providing current and future students with the space needed to cultivate community on our beautiful, hilltop campus.”

American School and University’s jury of four architects gathered from around the country to judge the Architectural Portfolio 2018. Like the juries before it, this year’s jury established its own set of criteria for determining winning designs. Awarded projects exhibited clarity of concept and innovation in response to the specifics of the program, users, community, and site.

“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 a unified, family-oriented campus 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 a garden plaza, lawn seating areas, outdoor recreational parks with a walking trail, fishing pond, swimming pool, basketball court, and sand volleyball courts, all open to the campus and local community.

“Personally, the lawn chairs in front of the residence hall is the best place for me to relax after a long day of classes,” ETBU sophomore Marketing major Jake Sanders shared. “My overall experience living in the Louise Ornelas University Park Row houses has been exceptional. Park Row has made me feel at home and provided a better college experience here at ETBU. Almost all of my neighbors and I are on a first-name basis, and we always reach out to each other if we need help.”

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 among other Christ-minded students and be immersed in a supportive and accountable environment.

“I am blessed to live with five God-fearing women in Park Row,” ETBU senior Nursing major Tiffany Stankiewicz explained. “My roommates are my accountability partners, study buddies, and the people I know that I can always count on. My favorite things about living in Park Row are studying on the lawn, sitting at the picnic tables, or going for a run around the pond after a stressful day. Park Row has made ETBU feel even more like home and has been a great place for fellowship. I am thankful that ETBU was able to make Park Row a reality.”

American School & University annually honors education organizations and architects for their accomplishments. Awards include the Educational Interiors Showcase, the Architectural Portfolio, and the Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities. The nation’s school and university administrators, as well as education architects, turn to American School & University for how-to features, insight, industry exclusive reports and research on the planning, design, construction, retrofit, operations, maintenance, security and management of education facilities. The projects featured will appear online at