Louisiana State University's new Digital Media Center is creating a buzz among students and turning heads across the digital media industry.
Scheduled to open in October 2012, the $29.2 million project will house LSU's Center for Computation & Technology (CCT) and AVATAR (Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research) programsas well as Electronic Arts Inc.'s expanded North American Test Center.
"Just putting the academic unit with a commercial venture has real value when you think about it," said Arthur Cooper, CEO of the LSU System Research and Technology Foundation. "There are many research and workforce development possibilities likely to occur simply because of proximity."
When it opened in 2008 on LSU's South Campus, EA's North American Test Center was expected to create 20 full-time jobs and 200 part-time jobs. EA far exceeded expectations and now employs 200 full-time and 200 part-time employees. The new facility will enable the company to ramp up to more than 600 total jobs and give it easy access to a strong pipeline of talent.
"EA goes to the places where we can find the best talent. ... You (Louisiana) absolutely have some of the best talent in the world," said Craig Hagen, senior director of government affairs at EA.
The first two floors will house the CCT and AVATAR programs, which convene interdisciplinary research in computer graphics, interactive systems, digital design and computer music. EA will occupy the third floor in office space designed specifically for quality assurance operations.
Cooper said the project fits neatly into the state's rich landscape of new digital media opportunities.
"It's a great time for this sector in Louisiana."