Esports arena, makerspace placed on hold due to funding


SalukiTech closed on Sept. 14, 2018, and will be replaced by an esports center and makerspace in the future. (Allie Tiller | @allietiller_de)

By Austin Phelps, Staff Reporter

Plans for the creation of an esports arena and makerspace at SIU have been placed on hold due to insufficient funding.

Carlo Montemagno, late SIU chancellor, spoke about the esports arena and makerspace at a Board of Trustees meeting in September, 2018. He said that the arena should be fully operational by the end of the semester.

(See more: Student Center plans for addition of makerspace, esports center)


“I think we were a little too optimistic in terms of the cost and it was significantly more expensive than what we expected it to be to get the physical space going,” said Jim Garvey, vice chancellor of research.

Garvey said there is a problem getting internal funding from the university due to budget concerns.

“My job this semester and the past semester has been to go out and find external donors who are going to be helping us raise money for this space,” Garvey said. “We’re working on it; it’s just things take longer than you want them to take to get there.”

Garvey said the makerspace is more than just a space – it requires people.

“What we really want to try to do is to incorporate more students into it and make it more grassroots [and] student-oriented,” Garvey said. “The students can tell us, from an organic perspective, what they want, what they need and then we can build it based on that.”

Garvey said that he hopes to see a time-frame on the project soon with hopes of having a more comprehensive idea by the next fall semester.

The esports arena and a teaser makerspace were supposed to be located in the former SalukiTech store in the student center, while the majority of the makerspace would be located in the basement of the student center.


Tena Bennett, student center director, said she was not aware of any current plans to move forward with the project at this time.

Staff reporter Austin Phelps can be reached at [email protected].

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