In fall 2021, Illinois State University’s Board of Trustees approved the development of a larger, enhanced gaming complex in the Bowling and Billiards Center to become the future home of Redbird Esports. Renderings of the gaming complex are now available, as well as naming opportunities throughout the space.

The 11,000-square-foot space will feature a dedicated varsity showcase for in-person competition; flexible space for spectator seating; 72 high-performance, fully equipped PCs; console and tabletop gaming space; team rooms; a broadcast and production room; and a large scoreboard to watch competitions and other major gaming events. The proposed completion date for the new gaming complex is fall 2022.

Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Levester “LJ” Johnson said, “As Redbird Esports continues to become a national leader in collegiate esports, it is pivotal for us to provide spaces that not only help our students develop their skills and foster connections with their peers, but also create state-of-the-art facilities that assist in recruiting new classes of Redbirds.”

In addition to the new gaming complex, the Vault, a 25-PC gaming space, will continue to operate in the Student Fitness Center. This space opened in fall 2020 with the launch of the Redbird Esports program and has provided practice and competition space for varsity teams as well as limited casual gaming opportunities for students. In addition, the Vault will continue to serve as an academic teaching space for the School of Kinesiology and Recreation and the game design major in the Creative Technologies program in the Wonsook Kim College of Fine Arts.

With the opening of the gaming complex, facilities will be available to accommodate more students who wish to participate in casual gaming or join esports at the club level with extended hours.

Executive Director of Campus Recreation Dawn Pote said: “The program goal from the beginning was to provide opportunities for student success both inside and outside the classroom. By expanding our facilities, we are able to continue to realize that vision to provide our students with experiences that prepare them to succeed in the multi-billion-dollar gaming industry.”

The Division of Student Affairs is actively seeking donors who are eager to get involved in the exciting world of Redbird Esports by helping support this major project. Donors who are interested in naming opportunities within the gaming complex should contact Elizabeth Klatt, associate director of development in the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs. Additional opportunities for sponsoring Redbird Esports activities are available by contacting Dawn Pote in Campus Recreation.