University identifies preferred site for new basketball arena in facilities master plan

Ezra Siegel

The athletics department announced Thursday its preferred location for a new venue to replace the Frank Erwin Center as part of a master plan for facility improvement.


The plan identified a parking lot positioned south of Mike A. Myers Stadium as the University’s top site to build the new arena. Men’s athletics director Mike Perrin said in a statement that the Frank Erwin Center will come down in the near future to make way for the Dell Medical School.


“The Erwin Center has served Central Texas well since 1977," Perrin said. "But due to expected growth of the UT Health District, it will need to be replaced probably within 8-10 years.”


Former athletics director Steve Patterson initially announced the intention to replace the Frank Erwin Center in September 2014. While the new location is yet to be approved, the plan highlights the department’s preference to keep Texas basketball close to campus.


“We prefer to have that new arena built in a nearby spot,” Perrin said. “But depending on the availability of land on campus, we may need to look elsewhere."


The plan — which was based on a 20-month study of UT facilities — also proposes potential upgrades to several other athletics facilities. The department hopes to add to Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium’s south end zone and build a new soccer stadium and practice facility. Additionally, a new indoor tennis complex is already under construction. Other potential improvements include upgrades to Red and Charline McCombs Field and UFCU Disch-Falk Field, new outdoor and indoor swimming pools and an on-campus rowing facility.


University president Greg Fenves and the UT System Board of Regents must approve all proposals before they become official.


Women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky said the plan highlights the University’s evolving vision for its athletics program. The department hopes the changes are cost-effective, convenient and lead to operational efficiency and an improved gameday experience.


“We are committed to maintaining an environment that promotes the academic and athletics success of our student-athletes,” Plonsky said. “This means being thoughtful and proactive about prospective facility sites.”