Skip to main content

Morrison School Celebrates Driving Range, Agribusiness Center This Fall

August 11, 2004

SOURCES: George Seperich, 480/727-1285; Richard Grinage, 480/727-1017

MESA, Ariz. - Two former baseball fields and a former department store on ASU's Polytechnic campus have been transformed into a new Golf Driving Range and Pro Shop and the new Agribusiness Center for the Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness.

The Agribusiness Center is the former Williams Air Force Base Exchange, a 41,000-square-foot facility that now houses three wet and dry labs for teaching, 19 fully mediated classrooms, two tiered lecture halls, 120 new computer stations, as well as seven large, multi-purpose classrooms.

"The Agribusiness Center ushers in a new era for the school," said Morrison School Dean Ray Marquardt. And just in time for the start of fall classes.

The renovated facility provides much needed classroom space for the campus and provides specialty classrooms to meet the needs of the many programs offered by the school, including: 

  • A PING Swing Analysis Lab, named after the PING golf equipment manufacturer, where Professional Golf Management (PGM) students analyze and improve their swing. The lab is made possible by a donation by the Solheim family, owners of PING. A Club Repair Room is also included.
  • A Market Information/Trading Room, with real-time U.S. and overseas equity and futures information being broadcast, where students gain practical experience in trading and risk management strategies.
  • A Consumer Behavior Research Lab where students and businesses will be able to monitor and measure consumer feedback from an observation room while conducting product taste tests, focus groups on advertising or packaging, or other market research studies. Next to the room is a fully-equipped test kitchen.
  • A Pre-Veterinary Medicine Teaching Theater that simulates a medical school classroom environment.

Also completed in time for the fall semester is the new 12-acre Golf Driving Range and Pro Shop. While the former baseball fields provided enjoyment for a few students in the past, today, the new Golf Driving Range will not only provide enjoyment to students and the public, but also will help PGM and Golf Facilities Management students develop and practice their professional golf skills and enhance their golf teaching skills. Both parts of player development are required by the Professional Golf Association for certification.

Additionally, the entire facility is a teaching laboratory for students enrolled in the golf and facilities management programs. "Students will use the range as a practice lab for pro shop and course management, improving their golf game, as well as for their studies in soils, turf management, irrigation, fertilization, maintenance, and other areas relating to golf," said Richard Grinage, director of the Professional Golf Management program.

The range features raised target greens, instead of just flags for players to aim at, and a total of 90 hitting stations, half reserved for PGM students and the other half are open to the public to generate revenue to cover operating costs for the range.

Completion of the driving range is a result of four years of planning by determined ASU's Polytechnic campus staff and dedicated supporters from the golf and construction industries.

Jack Gilmore, of Gilmore Parsons Land Design Group, designed the driving range and recruited Wood, Patel & Associates, Inc. for the civil engineering needs, and Wright Engineering to create the electrical plans. Pennington Seed donated all the seed required for the fairway and the tees, and to secure sod for the practice green. Last year, DPA Architects, who have worked on several ASU projects including the Brickyard, offered to design the pro shop building.

"Once private funds, particularly a $200,000 gift from the Kemper and Ethel Marley Foundation, were secured and campus funds were identified to construct the range, Haydon Building Corp. came on board as the project manager, and has kept the construction on time and within budget," said Rita Locke, development director for the campus.

Construction of the range was accomplished with the involvement of approximately 50 local and national companies who contributed more than $350,000 in service and materials toward the project.

"Both of these projects will help the school meet the ever-expanding needs of our students, our university and community," said Marquardt.

The Morrison School of Management and Agribusiness will celebrate the new Agribusiness Center and Golf Driving Range at a joint dedication planned for Oct. 22.