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New arena planned for Longhorns basketball

The next home for Longhorns basketball at the University of Texas at Austin will be a new, on-campus arena easily accessible to student-athletes and fans.

UT at Austin is considering a plan to build the arena south of Mike A. Myers track stadium but has not yet determined the precise footprint, scope or cost of the facility, which will replace the Frank Erwin Center in the next five to seven years.

UT at Austin President Gregory L. Fenves told members of the university’s Development Board:

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.

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. 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.

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.

Men’s Athletics Director Mike Perrin said:

In addition to serving the needs of our student-athletes, fan experience is a top priority for Texas Athletics. 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.

Image: The Frank Erwin Center during a basketball game