October 12, 2020
At the start of the Fall 2020 semester, Robert E. Craig Hall, one of ETBU’s landmark buildings, was transformed into an award-winning, state-of-the-art learning facility that is now home to one of the University’s largest academic schools, the Frank S. Groner School of Professional Studies.
Built in 1955 and originally called the Sanderson Hall of Science, Craig Hall was renamed in 1992 after the death of the University’s tenth President, Dr. Robert E. “Jack” Craig (ETBU graduate 1950). It was repurposed at this time as the ETBU School of Nursing, which later transitioned to the historic Marshall Grand in downtown Marshall in the summer of 2019. Craig Hall has served ETBU well for over sixty years, and its new transition poises the modernized academic space to continue to prepare ETBU graduates in the field of professional studies. Under current ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn, the University launched the CARE for Craig Hall initiative to raise money for the building’s historic renovation.
“This building brings to life the vision of the latest learning and training that takes place within its walls for the highest populated academic school on our campus,” Dr. Blackburn said. “The future athletic trainers, sports leaders, educators, coaches, physical therapists, and occupational therapists earning degrees in the fields of Athletic Training, Kinesiology, and Rehabilitative Science will be equipped through Craig Hall to treat, heal, teach, lead, minister, and disciple others. We praise God for His provision to enable the modern transformation.”
The new learning spaces in Craig Hall are equipped with flat-screen TVs and smart podiums with cameras integrated into the rooms to facilitate online instruction. Classrooms and designated sitting areas were outfitted with new furniture, flooring, and luxury vinyl tile following a pristine blue-and-white color scheme. The Athletic Training and Kinesiology rooms received updated equipment, as well as new cabinets and quartz installations. Additionally, a new HVAC system and windows were installed to enhance the building's sustainability and maximize energy efficiency.
“These renovations will allow all of the academic departments in the School of Professional Studies to collaborate and teach under one roof,” Dean of the Frank S. Groner School of Professional Studies Dr. Joseph Brown shared. “Innovative labs and modern classrooms will allow students to receive the hands-on learning required in Athletic Training and Kinesiology. These much-needed facilities have expanded our already successful and popular programs. They also serve as a testament to Dr. Craig’s memory.”
Craig Hall’s renovation was recognized with an Outstanding Design award in the 2020 American School & University Educational Interiors Showcase. Featured in the August issue of the prestigious architectural and construction magazine, the ETBU building was highlighted among the premier educational interiors in the country. Additionally, Craig Hall received an Outstanding Project Award for its contemporary learning environment and design interventions from the Fall 2020 Learning By Design Architectural and Interior Design Awards of Excellence jury panel.
“Reflecting on these awards of national recognition and thinking about the impact of the transformed Craig Hall, I contemplate those words of Sir Winston Churchill: ‘We shape our buildings, and our buildings shape us,’” Dr. Blackburn concluded. “Through Craig Hall and Dr. Craig’s legacy, today’s ETBU students and future generations of Tigers will be shaped and sharpened for God’s vocational call on their lives.”