University of Texas breaks ground on Moody Center

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Photo Credit: Jack Myer | Daily Texan Staff

Nearly a year after University officials announced project plans, construction of the Moody Center is officially underway.

Tuesday afternoon, UT President Gregory Fenves, athletics director Chris Del Conte, minister of culture Matthew McConaughey and others broke ground on the construction of Texas’ new state-of-the-art basketball arena just south of Mike A. Myers Stadium.

“If you’re using basketball lingo, we would call this ‘the dream team,’” Fenves said. “The dream team has come together for the Moody Center.”

The Center will feature an innovative agreement between The University of Texas, Live Nation and Oak View Group to construct the $338 million arena at no cost to the city of Austin or the UT community.

Del Conte said Fenves came up with the idea for a new arena two years ago and wanted to negotiate a “unique business model.”

“I sat there and thought we were in Colorado for a moment,” Del Conte said. “You get my drift?”

The new arena will be named after the Moody Foundation, which announced on Nov. 9 that it would donate $130 million to support the University in building the facility.

“The trustees of the Moody Foundation recognize that both the University and the Austin community need a new and improved sporting, special events and live entertainment arena,” said Ross Moody, one of the trustees of the Moody Foundation.

The Moody Center, which is expected to open in 2022, will replace the Frank Erwin Center, a multipurpose arena and the host of Texas’ men’s and women’s basketball teams. Once the new arena is complete, the Frank Erwin Center will be torn down for expansion of the Dell Medical School.

Del Conte said actual construction on the arena will begin in 30-60 days and cause road realignments to Red River Street, Dean Keeton Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

When the Moody Center opens, fans can expect McConaughey to make an appearance. McConaughey, who is one of the most well-known and visible Longhorn alumni, joined Texas’ faculty as a professor of practice in the Moody College of Communication in August 2019. But for now, UT’s minister of culture is focused on growing Texas’ atmosphere.

“We have the opportunity to make the Moody Center the place to be on the planet on any given day or night,” McConaughey said. “Together, let’s create and grow a classic establishment that grows older with grace. Let’s make it a place where truly great memories are made.”