BUCKHANNON, W.Va. – Students and staff at West Virginia Wesleyan College met Thursday morning for the unveiling of the college’s brand new Esports arena. The arena fills the space former occupied by the college’s blackbox theater, but has since been upgraded to be the home of the college’s newest competitive program. Coach Kevin Wu said it’s a project that’s been a long time coming.
“It’s been a year coming, this program’s been a year coming, and as we’ve been seeing this ramp up throughout the months, over the course of last year building up to this day, this is a really big deal since it’s all here now,” said Wu.
The arena itself is really the last part of the program to be put in place. Wu’s first class of recruits for the team arrived in Buckhannon with the most recent class, and the ten players on the team now have already been practicing together since the year began. Wu said the space is all that he had hoped for when first designing it, and more.
“Over the course of these years, whether it’s something that the students need, whether it’s something that’s a personal preference, whether it’s an optimization that we think might be better for the players, everyone’s been on board, everyone’s been really happy about it. So what we have here today is very close if not even better than what we originally anticipated,” said Wu.
The Esports program is just getting underway. College president Joel Thierstein first proposed the idea to the campus, and while it may be far from a traditional athletic or competitive program, it’s one that still carries value to the students who take part.
“It’s similar to our other sports in that there are team concepts that are built into the process, so students learn teamwork, they learn leadership skills, they learn collaboration skills, and those are things that we value at Wesleyan,” Thierstein said.