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Electronic Arts-LSU Open Digital Media Center In Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Area Development Online News Desk (02/10/2014)
Louisiana Digital Media Center, an almost $30 million technology hub spanning 94,000 square feet that serves as permanent home of Electronic Arts’ North American Test Center, and LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology, opened on the Louisiana State University’s Main Campus in Baton Rouge.

In mid-2011, state, local, federal and company leaders broke ground on the $29.3 million project that fulfills a collaborative vision to house EA’s commercial video game operations in the same facility with LSU’s CCT high-performance computing research environment and the university’s Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research program. The State of Louisiana conceived and funded the Louisiana Digital Media Center in connection with its 2008 recruitment of EA to Baton Rouge.

EA will be the major private-sector tenant and occupy 30,000 square feet, while LSU's Center for Computation and Technology will be the major university tenant, with 50,000 square feet. EA moved its game-testing operations into the facility in February 2013. Initially planning for 220 full- and part-time positions in 2008, EA has substantially exceeded its commitment to LED of an annual payroll of $5.7 million at the NATC. Employment at the NATC is expected to continue in the range of 400 to 600 people in the years ahead, with seasonal fluctuations corresponding to demand. Approximately 190 CCT faculty, staff and students also are located in the facility. Additionally, the center includes instructional space with cutting-edge audio/visual capabilities to support LSU's academic research efforts related to digital media and software development.

“Our team at the North American Test Center in Baton Rouge plays a vital role in the game development process and we look forward to being a part of the Baton Rouge community for many years to come,” Bryan Neider, who is Electronic Arts’ Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Shared Services, said.

Gov. Bobby Jindal said, “This Louisiana Digital Media Center will host a cutting-edge community for university research and its intersection with commercial technology. We were proud to attract EA’s North American Test Center to our state’s capital, and this facility delivers on our promise to make LSU and Louisiana second to none in the development of our brightest young minds for the best jobs of the future. We’re especially proud to provide a state-of-the-art, contemporary home for the LSU Center for Computation and Technology and the university’s dynamic digital media courses and lab work that will prepare our students to win great new jobs in the digital media and software development sector that we’ve had such great success in recruiting to our state.

Construction of the Louisiana Digital Media Center was funded primarily by State of Louisiana capital outlay dollars. State contributions of $26.3 million were complemented by a $3 million infrastructure grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“The recruitment of EA was a huge step for the digital media sector in the Capital Region,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “It set the stage for the development of this critical sector, one of the region’s target industries, which diversifies our economy. The Louisiana Digital Media Center would not have happened without the governor, LED, LSU, the mayor and city-parish, the LSU Research Foundation and BRAC all working together over many years to make something incredible happen.”

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