The University of Texas at Austin is moving forward with its plan to replace the Frank Erwin Center, but with a twist. The university is seeking bids for a private company to build and operate an arena and training facility. It would, theoretically, be done with “minimal financial outlay” from UT.
The new arena would be home to the Longhorn basketball teams, but would also host concerts and events, as the Erwin Center does now.
In a statement, University President Greg Fenves said the new state-of-the-art arena would be a “unique opportunity” for students and fans.
“Just as important, we are looking to do this at little cost to the university and no financial cost to the community,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tremendous facility that our student-athletes, coaches and fans can be extremely proud of, and one I know everyone is committed to making a great addition to all of the venues on our campus,” Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in a statement. “We’re really excited about getting this process rolling, moving forward and designing an awesome arena.”
The new arena would be built on one of two adjacent lots. The first location, proposed last year, is just south of Michael A. Myers Stadium and Soccer Field. An alternative site would be nearby, just south of Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, where the student Recreational Sports Center and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work stand now. The university is leaving options open for a developer.
The plan is to build a $350 million-$450 million arena in a public-private partnership that the university characterizes at "groundbreaking."
The Erwin Center turned 40 years old in November. Once the new arena is completed, the Erwin Center and the 15-year-old training facility next door are set to be demolished to make room for UT’s Dell Medical School's expansion.