New Construction

Butler University to Start Construction on Esports Arena

On the campus of Butler University in Indianapolis, Ind., construction is set to begin shortly on a new facility for esports and technology. The 7,500-square-foot Butler Esports Park was originally announced in 2019 but placed on hold due to the pandemic. The multi-use space will be built into the university’s Sunset Avenue parking garage and is scheduled to open its doors by the beginning of the fall 2022 semester.

The space will feature high-performance gaming PCs and consoles, coworking and event spaces, office areas, a studio and production room, and a café, among other amenities, and it will serve not only the university’s tech community but also that of Indianapolis at large.

“We strive to be a leader in building a culture of innovation, equity and operational excellence that supports our students and their learning—both inside and outside of the classroom,” said Dr. Frank Ross, Butler’s Vice President for Student Affairs. “Even through a challenging year due to the pandemic, Butler engaged our students, faculty and staff through esports in meaningful ways—adding a new academic minor, and pivoting to adapt recruiting, planning and event executions, as well as creative opportunities for community engagement, to advance our holistic vision for esports.”

The university is partnering with sports facilities architect Populous for the design process. Populous has designed facilities like the Fusion Arena in Philadelphia, Pa.; a 100,000-square-foot esports stadium in Arlington, Texas; and several venues for the Olympics.

“It is truly a pleasure to be on the front lines of the esports facilities movement across North America,” said Brian Mirakian, Populous Esports Director for the Americas. “Esports and gaming are becoming widely accessible to audiences more than ever before. By bringing together gaming, innovation and a dynamic creator environment, we are setting the stage for a new paradigm for student life and collegiate esports. We’re tremendously excited to integrate this state-of-the-art project into the fabric of the Butler campus.”

Lee Farquhar, the Interim Director at the BU School of Journalism and Creative Media, commented that the facility will bring in more energy and build student excitement about participating in esports. He called the facility a great space to practice, compete and meet other industry professionals. He added that the space will have a gallery in the middle and include as much flexible space as possible.

“They will be able to hold competitions, and there is a production studio environment. A food and beverage component will be woven into the space,” said Mirakian. “When we designed the space, there’s a live audience that can gather, cheer for the home team. Not only are you watching the action onstage, but you are watching the action on a digital screen.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].