Livingstone adds esports program and new facility – Salisbury Post
SALISBURY – Livingstone College enters the popular field of competitive play this fall with new facilities and a corresponding curriculum.
The college plans to build a small facility in the Walls Center on its main campus and a larger facility in unused space at its school of hotel management and culinary arts on Jake Alexander Boulevard.
In total, the facilities will include 16 competition stations, 16 social play stations, a training room, two golf simulators, two iRacing motorsport simulators, hotel suites specially designed for competitions, a concession bar and a gathering space.
There will also be hotel rooms for the night, gathering spaces for other events and sports boarding schools.
The college contracted with the Ohio company Meridian HD for the project. He plans to have the facilities ready by September and start offering scholarships for the program.
“We are thrilled with this inaugural partnership with Meridian HD as we deliver a competitive and cutting edge esports program,” Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins said in a statement.
Athletic director Lamonte Massie-Sampson said the college began exploring adding an esports program last January, before COVID-19 hit. The pandemic has put plans on hold, but Massie-Sampson said the extra time gave university officials time to take a closer look at the project.
He said the project’s renderings reminded him of an observation deck straight out of classic sci-fi movies like “Star Wars.”
He said the location will provide the college with unique opportunities due to its positioning in the host program.
âFew colleges own a hotel,â said Massie-Sampson.
He said the location would give the college the opportunity to host serious events, bring attention to Livingstone and generate income for the community by bringing people here from the surrounding metropolitan areas. The ballroom can accommodate spectators and there is accommodation on site. The largest facility will be open to the public.
âWe want them to see that Livingstone is forward thinking and is trying to do something different,â Massie-Sampson said.
The college also hopes to use the new facilities to complement its curriculum, including drone operations, programming, sports broadcasting and digital content creation, as well as audio and visual production.
Massie-Sampson said the college will look at its current students to pool their interest in participating, but that it also wants to attract new students with the program and boost enrollment.
Esports programs are becoming more common in colleges and universities as they respond to a growing interest in the multi-billion dollar industry. Catawba College, the other four-year institution in Salisbury, also offers an esports program and arenas.