Late last week, the University of Texas revealed preliminary plans for a new on-campus arena that could open in the coming years. University of Texas at Austin president Gregory L. Fenves detailed some concepts for the venue during a meeting with the school’s Development Board on Friday.
The University is looking to construct a new arena south of Mike A. Myers track stadium. If constructed, the venue could replace the Frank Erwin Center in the next five to seven years, though some details are still to be determined, including the precise footprint, scope, and cost of the facility.
“The campus master plan developed in 2012 called for the land under the Erwin Center to be used for future expansion of the Dell Medical School and the UT Health District. As we prepare for that, we will also ensure that our outstanding men’s and women’s basketball programs can continue to compete in a great arena,” Fenves told the Development Board, a 375-member group of UT alumni and supporters that advises the president.
“Coaches Karen Aston and Shaka Smart want the next facility to be on campus, where it is easier for our student-athletes to travel between their dorms, classes and practice. It also makes the games more accessible to our student fans,” Fenves said. “By choosing a central location, we will make the experience of going to a game more intimate and exciting for all who participate.”
The new facility will also serve as a venue for concerts and events, he said.
The Texas Athletics Master Plan released in 2016 identified several sites for a replacement of the 40-year-old Erwin Center and recommended it be built on campus. It listed a small parcel south of Mike A. Myers Stadium as the preferred site. That parcel is part of the larger area now being reviewed by university leadership for the new basketball arena.
“In addition to serving the needs of our student-athletes, fan experience is a top priority for Texas Athletics,” said Men’s Athletics Director Mike Perrin. “Our goal is to have an arena on our campus that can provide the platform for a great atmosphere and a positive fan experience for our men’s and women’s basketball games. While our vision is that the arena be basketball-centric, we will look to design it to allow for versatility in hosting other events.”
The university is currently developing the project’s scope and determining potential costs for the new arena.