Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal joined Electronic Arts Head of Worldwide Quality Assurance Mike Robinson, LSU Chancellor Michael V. Martin, and Mayor-President Kip Holden at a ground breaking ceremony of the 94,000-square-foot Louisiana Digital Media Center. The new facility will be home to 600 video game development workers and LSU's Center for Computation & Technology.
"We are proud to make Louisiana the permanent home of EA's North American Test Center as part of LSU's Digital Media Center, said the Governor. "We are quickly becoming a major player in the digital media industry, which is creating more high-paying and high-tech jobs for our people so they don't have to leave the state to pursue the career of their dreams. We continue to make major investments in higher education – at LSU and across our state – so we become the best place in the world for businesses to grow and succeed."
When completed, the $29.3 million project will feature a three-story structure on LSU's main campus. LSU's Center for Computation & Technology, which marks its 10th anniversary this month, had been looking for permanent home for its programs for quite some time. The goal of the Center is to drive academic and business research. The state had been working with EA to find a permanent home for the company's North American Test Center, which was located on LSU's South Campus since 2008. Half of its 400 employees are full-time. It is expected to open in 2012.
The Center is being funded by state dollars and LED funds. The U.S. Economic Development Administration also contributed a $3 million grant. EA will be the major private-sector tenant with 30,000 square feet, and LSU's Center for Computation & Technology will take up 50,000 square feet.
The facility will also serve as the home of the new AVATAR initiative at LSU. AVATAR (Arts, Visualization, Advanced Technologies and Research) combines faculty from various vocations with students to conduct research and to complete projects in virtual environments, digital art, electro-acoustic music, animation, video game design, scientific visualization and more.
EA is one of several firms that have taken advantage of Louisiana's Digital Interactive Media & Software Tax Credit.