The Game Hut
E-sports drive enrollment and innovation for the liberal arts.
Hastings+Chivetta worked with Columbia College to create the Game Hut – the home base for the Cougars eSports team. Columbia College was only the fifth school in the country to start an eSports program. Top players are offered scholarships for League of Legends, the most popular video game in the world with more than 27 million players daily. “Yes, we’re a liberal arts school, but a liberal arts school can and should be innovative. I love to have one foot in the past and one foot in the future,” said Scott Dalrymple, Ph.D., Columbia College’s President.
The Game Hut is a 850 SF stand-alone building formerly housing the soccer team’s locker room. The new state-of-the-art campus hub welcomes both gamer-athletes and recreational gamers. Color-changing LEDs let players decide how their space will look. The lighting is designed to not interfere with how players view games on their monitors. The futuristic environment is complete with the latest gaming technology, high-back chairs for comfort, locker rooms, and the Cougars logo on the wall.
In their first year, the Columbia College Cougars won a national title and are off to a great 2017-2018 season by earning the top spot in the national DreamHack Denver 2017 tournament.
Collegiate eSports was new not only for Columbia College but for the entire country. While promising, there were many unknowns. The College worked with Hastings+Chivetta and Dimensional Innovations to develop a cost-effective, fast-track project with a big impact. “The current conversation happening about eSports is similar to the conversation. 100 years ago about collegiate sports. Adding collegiate sports was a new, controversial idea. It took a long time for society to catch up,” says Dalrymple.