Bournemouth and Poole College has tested out its lecture theater turned esports arena for the first time, with its BPC Buccaneers student esports team.
The college has converted its existing 132-seat theater into an esports arena, by adding a 5m-high lighting rig, 4K projector and 6m wide retractable screen, plus a new stereo sound system with two 1kw subs.
Esports students successfully tested out the revamped 143sq m space the other day. The esports setup can manage multiple tables for 1v1 up to 6v6 tournaments, plus it features a shoutcasting station with livestreaming controls.
The full arena will be shown off as part a Bournemouth and Poole College open event on March 8th 2022.
The college also has an esports classroom where it teaches the esports BTEC qualification.
The BPC Buccaneers student esports team will play from the arena each week in the British Esports Student Championships for school and college teams.
Stuart Palmer, director of creative industries at Bournemouth and Poole College, told Esports News UK: “We've just opened up a Level 3 (Pearson BTEC) course in Esports, that started in September and we've heavily invested in that. We were oversubscribed for that in our first year.
“We have a new bespoke teaching space, which is kitted out with gaming keyboards, chairs and everything else.
“It's split into two sides (for two different teams), with the college colors of blue and orange. We have an esports team, the Bournemouth and Poole College Buccaneers, who have a new branded kit. And they compete on Wednesday afternoons in the British Esports Student Championships.”
“We've gone down the media route where students can be creative digitally, and they do their own filming, the shoutcasting, all the things that are involved in an esports course.
“Alongside that, we turned our theater into a gaming arena. We finally tested it last week and the students played from there for the first time. It's high power, high spec, we've invested in the sound and images in there, so students can take part in esports competitions in there, and people can watch them.
"When we set up the course, we invested in the teaching spaces but we knew we'd need a gaming arena so we invested in that too."
So why has Bournemouth and Poole College got involved in esports?
"We found it as a useful opportunity for students to learn new skills," Stuart added. “We're really keen on transferable skills, things like resilience and grit, collaboration and teamwork. That's what drew us to esports initially, but we also run alongside industrial partners.
“When you look at the gaming industry, it's collosal worldwide. We have key partners in that and we felt there would be a market for students to learn in the industry and to gain employment from it.
“We have a CGI/degree course running alongside this course, which is validated by Bournemouth University, and I believe we have a champion on this course. Our long-term ambition is to run an esports degree in two or three years' time at the college.
“We have partnerships with the Arts University Bournemouth, who have recently franchised a music degree. So we have that and a performing arts degree that run alongside those things.”
The college also has another partnership with Bournemouth University around journalism.
This is the latest piece of news in an increasingly busy esports education space.
We'll update this post with more images of the arena once the college has run its next event.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late '80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.