• 84°

Livingstone adding esports program, new facility

SALISBURY – Livingstone College is entering the popular realm of competitive gaming this fall with new facilities and a program to match.

The college plans to build a small facility in the Walls Center on its main campus and a larger facility in unused space on its School of Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts on Jake Alexander Boulevard.

In total, the facilities will include 16 competitive stations, 16 social play stations, a coaching room, two golf simulators, two iRacing motorsports simulators, specially designed hotel suites for competitions, a concessions bar and gathering space.

There will also be overnight hotel rooms, gathering spaces for other events and athletic boarding available.

The college has contracted with Ohio company Meridian HD for the project. It plans to have the facilities ready by September and begin offering scholarships for the program.

“We are so excited for this inaugural partnership with Meridian HD as we deliver on a competitive and cutting edge esports program,” Livingstone President Jimmy Jenkins said in a statement.

Athletic Director Lamonte Massie-Sampson said the college started exploring adding an esports program last January, before COVID-19 hit. The pandemic put plans on hold, but Massie-Sampson said the extra time gave college officials time to look at the project more closely.

He said the renderings of the project remind him of an observation deck right out of classic science fiction movies like “Star Wars.”

He said the venue will give the college unique opportunities because of its positioning with the hospitality program.

“Not many colleges own a hotel,” Massie-Sampson said.

He said the venue will give the college the chance to host some serious events, bring attention to Livingstone and generate revenue for the community by drawing people here from surrounding metro areas. The ballroom area at the hospitality facility on Jake Alexander Boulevard can host spectators, and there are accommodations on site. The larger facility will be open to the public.

“We want them to see that Livingstone is forward thinking and trying to do something different,” Massie-Sampson said.

The college also hopes to use the new facilities to add to its curriculum, including drone operation, programming, sports broadcasting, digital content creation and audio and visual production.

Massie-Sampson said the college will look at its current students to gauge interest in participating, but it also wants to attract new students with the program and drive enrollment.

Esports programs are becoming more common at colleges and universities because they cater to growing interest in the multi-billion-dollar industry of competitive video gaming. Catawba College has a program and esports arenas as well.

Comments

Local

Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s Dragon Boat race returns after year hiatus

Local

Marker commemorating Jim Crow-era lynchings in Rowan County, racial injustice required years of work

Local

Identified Marine was a Salisbury native, served in WWII

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees COVID-19 cases coming more quickly, remains in middle tier for community spread

Cleveland

Cleveland plans to build walking trail, community barn quilt mural

High School

High school athletics: Male Athlete of the Year Walker in league of once-in-a-generation players

Business

Young entrepreneur learns lesson of responsibility by raising quail, selling eggs

Lifestyle

Historic McCanless House sold, buyers plan on converting home into events venue

Lifestyle

Library’s Summer Reading Week 10 has virtual storytime, last chance to log hours

Coronavirus

Positive COVID test knocks DeChambeau out of Olympics

College

College football: North grad Delaney ready for next challenges at Johnson C. Smith

College

Fishing: Carson grad Bauer signs with CVCC

Business

Biz Roundup: City of Salisbury brings back in-person community resource fair

Nation/World

States scale back virus reporting just as cases surge

Nation/World

Wildfires blasting through West draw states to lend support

Nation/World

French protesters reject virus passes, vaccine mandate

News

State briefs roundup

Crime

Salisbury man arrested for robbery in Cleveland

Crime

Blotter: South Carolina man arrested after attempting to purchase dog with stolen credit card

Local

Carolyn Hurley remembered as giving person

News

Stay-at-home orders cut into commercial fishermen’s catch last year

News

Two bodies found after helicopter goes down off NC coast

Nation/World

Unlikely partners: Pelosi, Cheney team up for Jan. 6 probe

Crime

Uber driver charged with sexually assaulting customer near Knightdale