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University receives ETPA Award for historic Butler-Blanc Gym restoration

Historic Butler-Blanc Gym

Historic Butler-Blanc Gym

(Nov. 12, 2013) — On Friday, Nov. 8, The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance (ETPA) presented Carson-Newman University with a 2013 ETPA Award for its efforts in renovating its second oldest building on campus, Butler-Blanc Gymnasium.

“This project demonstrates that academic institutions can reuse historic buildings and partner with volunteer groups,” said Ethiel Garlington, director of Preservation Field Services with ETPA.

With volunteer assistance from Baptist Builders, the historic gym received a summer transformation, which caught the attention of the ETPA. The organization recognized 12 of the year’s most outstanding preservation projects in its 16 county region.

Other award recipients include the Shepard Inn, Jefferson County; The Hemlocks, Anderson County; Greenback Depot, Loudon County; and Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church, Sevier County.

Carson-Newman Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Ross Brummett accepted the award on the University’s behalf during the fourth annual East Tennessee Preservation Awards ceremony held at the Chilhowee Club in Maryville.

“Two years ago the roof leaked so badly,” recalled Brummett. “It was either repurpose or bulldoze.”

The University decided the 92-year-old building, which houses First Year and Conference Services and various other campus clubs and organizations, was important enough to save and began by reroofing the structure.

The Baptist Builders then offered construction services through their volunteer network.

Baptist Builders are volunteers from Baptist churches who use construction to minister and provide disaster relief. The Tennessee Baptist Builders are organized through the Tennessee Baptist Convention and often work in conjunction with the convention’s Disaster Relief teams, with many volunteers serving on both teams.

The volunteers completed the restoration work on Butler-Blanc during the summer semester. They repaired windows, refinished sections of the flooring, painted, and repaired the building’s concrete steps at its entrance.

“Now it has become a second gathering place for students on campus,” Brummett said. “The bouldering wall and commuter lounge are just two of the reasons students now flock to Butler-Blanc.”

The ETPA is a branch of Knox Heritage and allows the organization to serve 16 surrounding counties. They are dedicated to preserving cultural historic heritage through advocacy and education.

 Click below to see how Baptist Builders helped to bring new life to historic Butler-Blanc Gym.

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