CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - An Esports Arena was unveiled at Southern Illinois University on Friday, August 16.
Located on the first floor of the Student Center, the 1,200-square-foot facility launched with an open house.
It started with the late Chancellor Carlo Montemagno. The Esports Arena was a topic of discussion at a Board of Trustees meeting in fall 2018. After a hold, construction picked up again with it being finished this summer.
You can click here to read more about the Esports team.
The arena features a competitive gaming side, with PCs and keyboards, and a console-style area for patrons who use a game controller. The competitive area includes 12 Alienware R7 computers, with access to more than 20 games at any one time.
Following the open house on Aug. 16, open play will begin on Aug. 19, the first day students are back on campus for class.
A special free play night for students is also set for 8-11 p.m. on Aug. 17 during the annual Dawgs Night Out.
The new arena will also be available for the community to enjoy. Gaming and facility hours will be similar to the Student Center Bowling and Billiards, with some differences for competitions and events.
First time users will register at the Esports counter located in the Student Center Bowling and Billiards and will make their own username and password. Patrons can buy gaming time at rates of $3 an hour for students, $3.50 for SIU staff and $4 for community members.
According to SIU, the future goal is to tie in academics to the Esports Arena, using it as a platform for student projects, game development and other research topics.
Student Center Associate Director Kent Epplin says he hopes the new Esports Arena will open more doors for other potential gamers.
"This gives a new opportunity to our students not only new coming students to attract them to the campus but also some retention efforts,” he said. “Everybody uses the student center so I’m excited for people to just be able to walk by and get eyes on it and hopefully people will come in and we will be able to grow.”
The new arena is not only for students but will also be open to the public.
If you are looking to sponsor a gaming chair, they are still accepting donations.