The University of Akron (UA) is taking esports seriously, providing student gamers with esports facilities unlike any other kind in the world.
UA’s Zips Esports program will open three dedicated gaming facilities Oct. 5, 2018, to accommodate the new varsity, club and recreational esports offerings. With over 5,200 combined square feet, it’s the largest amount of dedicated esports space of any university in the world to date. The facilities will be outfitted with over 90 state-of-the-art gaming PCs and 30 next generation consoles.
“These facilities ensure that our campus gaming community has a physical home for student gamers to meet, compete and grow together,” said Michael Fay, Jr., director/head coach of esports programs. “This reflects our program’s commitment to ensure — whether you’re a student who likes to game casually or are a dedicated competitive player — that there’s a space for you to celebrate your love of gaming with others who share that passion. We’re not divided by the type of game we play, the platform we play it on or how competitively we play it.”
UA’s five varsity esports teams will compete in a new 1,222-square-foot gaming arena located on the first floor of InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field. There, spectators will be able to watch matches live on a hyper wall display (multiple monitors connected like tiles that display one large image). The facility will also house a studio for broadcasting competitions and events.
A 2,646-square-foot esports center located on the first floor of the Jean Hower Taber Student Union will be home to more than 300 students representing 10 esports club teams. The facility will feature a viewing lounge where live esports broadcasts will be aired throughout the day, and an exclusive training space for varsity teams. Free devices will also be available for recreational use by other members of the student body who are not a member of a club or varsity team.
The Drs. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Honors College will house a 1,338-square-foot recreational gaming café on the first floor that will be available for all students within good academic standing to access for free. University employees, alumni and community members who are gamers and want to access the café will have to purchase passes.
“These facilities will help eliminate any financial barrier to participating in esports competitions for UA students, keep them from having to play alone in their residence halls and allow them to pursue mastery in gaming, just like any other extracurricular pursuit here on campus,” added Fay.
The PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X will be utilized as gaming consoles. The specs of the PCs include GTX 1080 Ti graphics cards, Intel’s Core I7 8700 central processing units, 16 GB of 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM and Samsung 860 EVO SSD’s for the operating system combined with 2 TB of extra storage for games and applications.
UA contracted with GDP Group of Akron and Feghali Brothers Construction and Engineering of Canfield for the project. A majority of the construction at the three facilities is adding ventilation, power and data networks to already existing space.
Earlier this month, UA’s esports program partnered with Audio-Technica to make the audio equipment designer and manufacturer its exclusive audio supplier for all gaming and broadcasting.
In July, UA announced the team coaches and leaders – including the first female collegiate esports coach – selected to manage and coach the five inaugural esports varsity teams this fall.
UA is the first public university in northern Ohio to create a varsity esports program. For more information about the program, contact Michael Fay, Jr. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About The University of Akron
Established in 1870, The University of Akron (UA) offers a wide range of in-demand associate, bachelor’s, professional and doctoral degree programs in the liberal arts, sciences, health care, engineering, law, business, education and more. Its beautiful metropolitan campus, located in the heart of Ohio’s fifth-largest city, is surrounded by more than 21,000 businesses in the Akron metropolitan area, providing diverse experiential learning opportunities to its more than 22,000 students hailing from 45 states and 78 countries. With championship-winning NCAA Division I sports teams, more than 300 student organizations and a top-ranked Student Recreation and Wellness Center, UA provides the full campus experience.
(Image) Source: Press release / The University of Akron