LAURENS, S.C. (WSPA) – The City of Laurens is receiving its first performing arts center in over 100 years. With it comes a new Esports arena, a new restaurant and a new theater all within the same building.
The new four-fold project downtown is what residents are calling a game-changer.
“It’s kind of cool that they’re bringing it to Laurens, I mean we don’t really get too much stuff in Laurens,” said Seth Montjoy, Laurens resident.
Presbyterian College is partnering with the City of Laurens in its first-ever off-campus expansion project. The idea came a year and a half ago after the college launched its Esports program. This then kickstarted the process of renovating the 10,000-square-foot Capitol Theater in the heart of downtown.
Eventually, teams from Laurens County School Districts 55 and 56 will join the college students, something Montjoy said he looks forward to.
“It means a lot, especially since they’re bringing Esports, I’ve played video games my whole life,” said Montjoy.
The building is serving as the Esports arena but also as a movie theater, performing arts center, and restaurant.
“For me, it’s cool because growing up as a kid in Laurens, especially in high school, there wasn’t much to do within a ten-mile radius of Laurens besides go to Sonic and eat out but now we get to come chill at movies, there’s a new restaurant in town,” said Brian Sheffield, Laurens resident.
The project is bringing more life to downtown, but also more opportunities.
“If you’re trying to be special, especially someone in the music industry, there’s not really any opportunities around here to go and make it big but opening up a little place where you can go and have a chance to perform in front of people and make your music known to people of the area,” said Isaac Adams, Laurens resident.
Adams hopes this summer he can debut his musical talents in the new performing arts center. He also knows the Esports venue will help his friends looking to pursue a college degree.
“That gives a whole other section of kids an opportunity to go to college on a scholarship and not have to pay,” said Adams. “A bunch of kids just want to sit around and play video games these days and now that gives them a chance to go to college and do that and still be able to get educated to a higher degree.”
The Esports arena opened this past week and by summer, the restaurant, performing arts venue and theater should all be complete.