EDWARDSVILLE — Marked by a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville officially began work on Phase I of a new Golf Training Facility. The facility, which is entirely externally funded, will sit adjacent to Roy E. Lee Field at the Simmons Baseball Complex. Pending final approval from the SIU Board of Trustees, the facility will be named for legendary SIUE coach and supporter Harry Gallatin.
A facility where student-athletes would be able to increase training opportunities has long been a dream of Gallatin's and the project was jump-started by sizeable donations from John Simmons, Tom Allen, Corey Wenzel of Enclave and Enclave West Developments, TheBANK of Edwardsville, many supporters of the Gallatin Golf Tournament and endowment, and Gallatin himself.
SIUE believes this type of recognition is well-deserved for Gallatin for his years of service to SIUE and its athletes.
"The idea to propose naming the facility after Gallatin came from the original major contributors," SIUE Director of Athletics Brad Hewitt said. "They passed on recognition to honor someone who has given so much to SIUE and the surrounding communities."
The first-class training facility will aid in attracting promising student-athletes and underscores the commitment to a nationally-competitive golf program at SIUE.
"Practicing golf in the Midwest is a real challenge," Gallatin said. "Having a practice facility here on campus will be so important to be able to qualify for the National Championships and enable (student-athletes) to carry the banner of SIUE."
Phase I of the multi-phase development, which will enable student-athletes to have primary access to a place they can practice every type of shot, regardless of weather, will include three indoor hitting bays, a 1,500-2,000 square foot indoor putting green, and a short game training area. Outdoor accommodations include six outdoor driving range bays and an outdoor putting area.
An added opportunity, both for Intercollegiate Athletics and the golf programs, will be the ability to open the range to the general student body, staff, and faculty--offering memberships and providing employment opportunities for SIUE student-athletes. Monies received from these endeavors will help to maintain the facility as well as augment the budgets of the men's and women's golf programs.
Fundraising continues for the Phase II of the project which would upgrade both the indoor and outdoor portions of the facility, including space for indoor video training analysis, 1,000-1,500 square foot study area, and expanded locker room space. The expanded locker room would include 20 individual lockers as well as a changing area for the men's and women's teams.