Fenves releases plans for new basketball arena

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Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Say goodbye to the Frank Erwin Center. Texas men and women’s basketball will have a new home in less than a decade.

University President Gregory Fenves held a meeting with members of the university's Development Board on Friday to discuss details of the proposed on-campus arena, which Fenves expects to be open in the next five to seven years.

“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,” Fenves said to the Development Board. “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.”

The new arena’s layout and costs have not been released, but the location is fairly certain. Graphics released with Fenves’ statement show the new arena located directly south of Mike A. Myers Stadium and directly east of the Recreational Sports Center — the exact location of what is currently a major source of daily parking for students with a class C permit, Lot 70.

While day-to-day parking might get even more strenuous for Texas students, making it to both men’s and women’s basketball games won’t. Fenves said the central location will make gamedays easier for both fans and players.

“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,” Fenves said. “It also makes the games more accessible to our student fans.”

The Erwin Center has held Texas basketball games since 1977 and has commonly been known as a “Special Events Center” due to the high number of concerts and events held within its doors.

Though the new arena fares to be smaller than the Erwin Center — which holds more than the average college arena at a capacity of 16,734 — men’s athletic director Mike Perrin said it will still be used for all sorts of entertainment.

“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,” Perrin said. “While our vision is that the arena be basketball-centric, we will look to design it to allow for versatility in hosting other events.”