Southern Illinois University Edwardsville celebrated a creative community partnership backed by external support by breaking ground today for the new Harry Gallatin SIUE Golf Practice Facility at Sunset Hills Country Club (SHCC) in Edwardsville.
The indoor practice facility and driving range is named in honor of legendary SIUE coach and supporter, the late Harry Gallatin, who envisioned a first-class facility that would increase student-athlete training opportunities.
"A key element in the future of higher education is the pursuit of University/community partnerships," said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. "This is an excellent example of such a mutually beneficial approach."
"Thanks to key leaders at Sunset Hills and SIUE for working together to make this practice facility a reality. A beautiful and practical structure located within minutes of our campus, it will serve both SIUE golfers and SHCC members into future decades."
The development will cost approximately $500,000, with its estimated completion slated for autumn 2019. The 1,840-square-foot facility will include three indoor hitting bays, a video training system, an indoor putting surface and the ability to open the doors to hit out into the driving range.
"This project is a great fit for both the University and Sunset Hills Country Club, and we are happy to make the facility a reality," said SHCC President Cory Darr, CPA. "This facility gives both the SIUE student-athletes and the SHCC membership access to an indoor facility that will allow for practice year-round. No one else in the area has this option."
Major donors who have contributed 100 percent of the project's construction costs include John Simmons, Tom Allen, and Mike and Corey Wenzel. Other significant backers are Bev and Harry Gallatin, TheBANK of Edwardsville, the Lukas Family, and the SIUE Foundation along with in-kind contributors Tom Cissell, Alan Grammer and Dale Keller.
"We're elated to see dad's final project fulfilled at Sunset Hills Country Club," said Jim Gallatin. "After his basketball career was over, playing and coaching golf became his athletic passion. We appreciate all the donors who have contributed and are proud to have this development in dad's honor."
"This is extremely important for us and the donors to honor the life of Harry Gallatin, and recognize the incredible impact he made on SIUE Athletics and our student-athletes, in the past, present, and into the future," said SIUE Director of Athletics Brad Hewitt, PhD. "We are excited to see this project come to fruition. It is a win-win, both for our outstanding men's golf program and Sunset Hills Country Club."
"It is my hope that the foundation can use this model to form other philanthropic partnerships in the community," added Vice Chancellor for University Advancement and CEO of the SIUE Foundation Rachel Stack.
When the announcement of the SIUE-SHCC partnership was made in July 2018, SIUE Men's Golf Coach Derrick Brown emphasized the immediate impact the facility will have on his student-athletes, as it will expand their ability to train year-round and amplify their advancement as a nationally recognized team.
"The features of our new facility will provide the tools for us to continue to be successful," Brown said. "It will be great for our young men to have an indoor facility to call home that is located so close to campus. The capability to show new recruits a facility of this caliber will greatly enhance our recruitment of high-performing student-athletes."
"We are grateful to everyone who helped make this possible in honor of a great man, Coach Gallatin," he added.
Oates and Associates, of Collinsville, is the design firm for the project, while Limbaugh Construction Co., Inc., of Granite City, is the contractor.