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ETBU celebrates grand opening of new nursing facility at Marshall Grand building

East Texas Baptist University officials invited the community to celebrate with them on Saturday as they debuted the university’s newest facility, the ETBU School of Nursing at the Marshall Grand in downtown Marshall.

The $2.2 million renovation of the Marshall Grand, formerly known as the historic Hotel Marshall, has been a years-long process in the making, with students set to begin learning at the new facility in August.

“The people of Marshall gave from 25 cents to thousands upon thousands of dollars to make this possible,” ETBU President Blair Blackburn said on Saturday during the building’s dedication ceremony. “We’re thankful they had the vision to see this as a center for academic excellence. That’s what we have today in the Marshall Grand, is a center for nursing healthcare education.”


The renovation of the eight-story building included updating and adding classrooms and labs to five of the eight floors. The university has plans to continue the renovation on floors six, seven and eight in the future as funding allows. The eighth floor will eventually be renovated to restore the building’s historic ballroom.

“To build something in 1929, then create it to what it is today, a modern training facility, is just remarkable,” Blackburn said. “But as the scripture verse on screens throughout the building said, in Isaiah 25:1, ‘things planned long ago,’ right. God planned this long ago. God knew in 1929 this would not be a hotel in 2019, so many years later.”

Blackburn honored the building’s former owners, Jerry and Judy Cargill and Richard and Christina Anderson, who donated the building to ETBU in 2013.

“I also want to thank D.M. Edwards,” Blackburn said. “Dr. D.M. Edwards is a longtime member of the ETBU board. His parents were members of our board and it was his mom and dad who had the vision to create the School of Nursing.

“We wouldn’t have the nursing school today if they had not had the vision to say East Texas needs a nursing school at ETBU.”

The Marshall Economic Development Corporation and the City of Marshall also partnered with ETBU on a $200,000 development grant for the renovation of the new facility.

Blackburn said the renovation of the Marshall Grand for the School of Nursing was part of the long range vision and plans God had for the private Christian university.


“It is remarkable as you see the photos and you’re able to see the transformation, many of you have shared with me that you’ve danced in this room and you’ve been to proms in the eighth floor of the ballroom and one day, we’ll have that eighth floor restored to a ballroom that we will all be able to use and enjoy — that’s our hope,” Blackburn said. “From here, we have the School of Nursing; what’s next is a Master’s degree in Nursing Education, Master’s degree in Speech Pathology. And we’re able to do that with a visionary leader, Dr. Tommy Sanders, who is our Provost.”

Sanders said the building will house currently house four faculty members who will begin to move in to the building in early June. The university is planning to then hire two more faculty members who will be housed at the new nursing facility.

“We understood that God had a vision — beyond our dream, there was God’s vision to reveal what would become to us here at the Marshall Grand,” Blackburn said. “I asked Dr. Sanders, what should we do, what is the greatest need among our institution, and he said, ‘Nursing, we need better training space for our nurses.’

“We’ve been greatly successful to see our nursing program number six in the state among 119 programs and four years consecutive 100 percent passing rates on the the NCLEX.”

The new facility includes several classrooms, study areas, faculty offices and simulation labs.

“God used the people of Marshall and the Andersons and the Cargills to see this vision come true,” Blackburn said. “As a Christ-centered institution, we are training Christ-centered, servant-hearted nurses who are going to care, heal and serve in the name of Jesus and that’s what we’ve been called to do as an institution.”


Source:  Marshall News Messenger