Western Illinois University is reportedly converting an old bookstore into a “digital recreation center” which will serve the school’s esports program and be an on-campus hub for gaming.
According to Peoria Public Radio, a survey was conducted among local high school students to see whether a digital recreation center might attract more students to campus. The survey, which was conducted several years ago, found that among the approximately 200 students surveyed, 30 responded positively to the notion of a digital rec center.
Benjamin Hironimus-Wendt, president of the Western Electronic Gaming Association, told Peoria Public Radio that he expected the facility would make an impact.
“This is going to be one of the driving forces of getting students back on campus,” he said. “Instead of coming back with a whimper, we’re going to have a booming population, there will be more things to do.”
The former bookstore site is undergoing a full renovation to make it an attractive, functional space for gamers. Once complete, the facility will offer top-of-the-line computers and gaming chairs, in addition to fiber network internet to maximize connectivity.
The facility will reportedly have “irregular hours” to appeal to the gaming community.