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eSports comes to Laurens County

Presbyterian College & The City of Laurens partner on re-use of The Capitol Theater


PC’s esports program moving into Capitol Theatre on March 2 

Presbyterian College's esports program is moving, as planned, into the historic Capitol Theatre on the Public Square in Laurens this spring.

PC has invited the public to a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 2, at the theater's location on 104 East Main Street in Laurens.

As renovations continue at the college-owned venue to include a restaurant and public space for films and live performances, the college's esports team will be the first to occupy the facility this spring. Eventually, teams from Laurens County school districts 55 and 56 will join them.  

PC president Dr. Matthew vandenBerg said completing the first phase of the Capitol Theatre project is exciting news for esports and the entire Laurens and Laurens County communities.

"With the addition of esports now and a new restaurant and performing arts center in the near future, the Capitol Theatre is well on its way to becoming a social and entertainment hub not only for PC, but for all of Laurens County," vandenBerg said. "We are profoundly grateful for the city and county officials who have so generously made Presbyterian College a welcome partner in the cultural fabric of this great community."

A public grant funded by private industry allowed PC to purchase and renovate the Capitol Theatre. In addition to serving as an arena for esports, the venue will continue to serve as a movie theater and will blossom into a performing arts center. vandenBerg said the public-private partnership behind the Capitol Theatre will attract community and regional attention for cultural, social, and entertainment events.

Mayor Nathan Senn said the city embraces its role as Laurens County’s esports capital.

“Presbyterian College’s newly-formed relationship with the City of Laurens and this new e-sports venue is exciting on so many levels,” Senn said. “Laurens is a city committed to sustainable growth, and that means, in part, a commitment to offering a great quality of life for our younger residents. This new e-sports venue, which will also serve our city’s youth e-sports athletes, is a prime example of our collaborative efforts to pursue cutting edge youth programs. The fact that it may also provide a path to higher education for some is just as exciting.”

Senn said the City of Laurens welcomes PC with open arms.

“We are also excited about welcoming PC’s e-sports athletes into the heart of our city, with all the vitality and energy we know they’ll add to our community,” he said. “We hope this space will further cement the bond between the college and the City of Laurens! I am incredibly excited for the future of this venue and all that it will bring to our community, and I am proud that the Blue Hose now have a place they can call ‘home’ in the City of Laurens.”

The theater is poised to become an important social hub for PC students.

"The transformation of the Capitol Theatre is a prime example of PC's innovative approach to creating places for students to have a good time together," said vandenBerg. "Soon, they will be able to enjoy a meal, watch a great film together, or cheer on the Blue Hose esports team and build great memories."    

PC's esports director Victor Barcenas said students are anxious to get inside the Capitol Theatre and see the facility in person. 

"It's great to see the esports facility is finished being renovated," Barcenas said. "I know there are students that are really excited to see it. They've been eager to see our progress and it's great to see the hard work from everyone who helped make this happen and to see that effort pay off."

The Blue Hose' first esports team will kick off its inaugural year of competition this fall.