‘It’s everything I envisioned’: Esports lab officially opens in Heskett Center


Easton Thompson

Anthony Vu watches while Teri Hall and Jessica Provines play a game on a Nintendo Switch during the opening of the WSU esports hub on Tuesday, Nov. 5 in the Heskett Center.

Wichita State officially opened the campus’s first esports lab in the Heskett Center on Tuesday. The lab is located in the former cardio room of the building.

Students from all over campus flowed in and out of the gaming space throughout the afternoon to have some time on the desktops. In total, there are 20 desktop gaming computers, an Xbox One and a Nintendo Switch, all with games preloaded on them. 

The Xbox and Switch have games such as Fifa, NBA 2k, Super Mario and more. As for the desktops, most games require a Steam account to play games, such as League of Legends. Fortnite and Minecraft are also on the computers servers.

The room has unique, yellow neon-like lighting that hang from the ceiling with dark walls to make a relaxed vibe, which is exactly what the Director of Campus Recreation John Lee wanted.

“It’s everything that I envisioned,” Lee said. “[The university] just wanted something for gamers to come to. In recreation, there are basketball courts, so this is just one more thing that people are interested in and can do in their spare time.”

Lee said that even though the project originated in the campus recreation department, a whole team made up of IT and telecommunications workers helped with the wiring in the building. He said it was a “full team effort.”

The movement to bring an esports facility started two years ago. Last year, the school introduced a varsity team that competes against other schools. Now, they have a room to practice, but also allows outside students the chance to game as well.

“To me, it’s a natural fit for campus recreation,” Lee said. “We can now run intramural sports, or have tournaments. And that’s all to go along with open sessions whenever the Heskett is open.”

He also stated that it fits with the “topical trends across college campuses today.”

“It turned out great,” Lee said. “Not all of us are into the same things – whatever your niche is, it’s good to have that on campus. We are just filling another niche’s void here.”

The esports lab will be open on campus any time the Heskett Center is open. From Monday-Thursday, the building is open from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m. On Friday, it will be open at 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Weekends will bring different hours, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m.