Yorkville High School esports players are on the verge of getting a huge upgrade, with the District 115 school board set to consider an esports gaming lab later this month.
School district officials heard the proposal Wednesday, June 16, to purchase gaming monitors, keyboards and equipment to convert an old computer lab near the library into an esports facility. Technology staff at the school hope to have the gaming lab up and running for the 2021-22 school year.
“When you watch one of these video game tournaments online or you watch it at the collegiate level, it’s unbelievable,” said Ryan Adkins, District 115 technology director.
With esports now an official sport under the IHSA, Adkins hopes the facility eventually will host sectional or regional esports meets.
“It’s grown so much,” he said. “Back when I went to school, my parents would be yelling at me if I was playing video games. Now kids are getting full rides to big universities for esports.”
The gaming lab is not cheap, however. The $98,000 investment has already been budgeted by the district, and Adkins hopes the equipment can last at least five years.
But officials said the gaming lab is a win for equity, as well. Online gaming typically can’t be played on simple laptops and requires expensive monitors and processors.
“Not every kid has access to that, so now we’re going to provide an opportunity,” Adkins said. “Right now, they’re practicing at 7, 8 o’clock at night and now they’ll be able to practice in a spot after school.”