UT announces plans for new on-campus basketball arena

New location for UT Basketball Arena
New location for UT Basketball Arena (Courtesy: UT)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — After years of speculation about whether or not the University of Texas at Austin would move its basketball arena, the school announced Friday that the new arena will be built on-campus.

The university says the new home for Longhorns basketball will replace the Frank Erwin Center in five to seven years. Diagrams show the new arena would be built just south of Mike A. Myers Stadium, near the intersection of Red River Street and Robert Dedman Drive.

New location for UT Basketball Arena
New location for UT Basketball Arena (Courtesy: UT)

Texas President Greg Fenves made the plans public to the school’s development board, citing conversations with the Texas men’s head basketball coach Shaka Smart and Texas women’s head basketball coach Karen Aston.

Fenves said in a press release: “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 would also serve a dual purpose for concerts and other events.

“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,” Texas Athletic Director Mike Perrin said in a statement.

While the idea is out there, the potential cost for the new arena and how big the project will be is still all under review.

UT announced in September 2014 they were looking to replace the center. At the time, then-UT Athletic Director Steve Patterson estimated the new arena was six to 10 years away and that it would cost around $500 million.

 

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