A groundbreaking ceremony has now officially kicked off the construction of the $29.3 million, 94,000-sq.-ft. Louisiana Digital Media Center, the future home to 600 video game development workers and the Center for Computation & Technology (CCT) at Louisiana State University (LSU).
Established 10 years ago, CCT had long sought a contemporary, permanent home for its programs that drive academic and business research with high-performance computing. Now it will be the new Digital Center's major university tenant, with 50,000 square feet.
The state also sought a permanent home for the Electronic Arts Inc (EA) North American Test Center located on LSU's South Campus since 2008. (It employs nearly 400 workers.) EA will be the major private-sector tenant, taking up 30,000 sq. ft. of space. Recognized as a global leader in digital interactive entertainment, the Redwood, CA-based company's game franchises are played by more than 100 million registered players worldwide. (Its 2011 net revenue was $3.6 billion).
In addition to housing those two high-profile tenants, the facility will be home to the new Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research (AVATAR) initiative at LSU. AVATAR enables students to do research and projects in virtual environments, digital art, electro-acoustic music, animation, video game design, scientific visualization, and more.
Gov. Bobby Jindal's Administration has contributed $26.3 million in state monies to the project, while the U.S. Economic Development Administration gave a $3 million grant.
"EA is happy to be a part of the new Louisiana Digital Media Center at LSU," said Craig Hagen, EA's senior director of government affairs. "This groundbreaking is another example of how Louisiana continues its march towards establishing itself as an emerging tech hub in this exciting and growing industry."
"Digital media and software development will be one of Louisiana's top growth industries for the next two decades and possibly beyond," said Louisiana Economic Development (LED) Secretary Stephen Moret. "The future growth of this industry in Louisiana will depend to a great extent on the ability of our higher education institutions to produce the specialized talent that this industry requires. The Louisiana Digital Media Center will help accomplish that goal, as will other partnerships between higher education and LED that we are beginning to cultivate this year."