According to The Alcalde, the Texas Longhorns may have finally found a home for the basketball arena that will eventually replace the Frank Erwin Center, which will be demolished to make way for the Dell Medical School Expansion, and an on-campus location is the most likely scenario.
The report, which includes an interview with Texas men's athletic director Mike Perrin, reveals that the athletic department is eyeing the parking lot just south of the Mike A. Myers track and soccer stadium as the area upon which the replacement for the Erwin Center may one day stand. The report also notes the Erwin Center being built off campus is still an option, though, as the current update is just a proposal as part of the University of Texas Athletics Master Plan, albeit one that was authorized for release by UT president Greg Fenves.
The University of Texas Master Plan
Some Texas basketball fans -- those that advocate for games in Gregory Gym -- were hoping for a smaller-capacity fieldhouse that would ensure a more raucous environment at games. However, that was never particularly likely and looks even less likely now, as the current plan calls for a facility roughly the same size as the Erwin Center:
The concept for site option 3 places the events center in the area south of Myers Stadium between Red River Street and Robert Dedman Drive on Lot 70. Although the men's basketball program needs seating for approximately 12,000 spectators, the entertainment market for this venue in Austin demands a minimum of 13,500 seats, using a stage at one end with 180 degrees of viewing. The new events center size was generated from this premise and the ability to ﬁt a full-sized ice hockey rink on the ﬂoor, should one be added. The resulting seating capacity for basketball is 15,300 if the upper level seating is omitted at the stage end. If the entire upper level ring is ﬁlled with seating, the events center's maximum capacity could be as high as 17,450 seats when used as a basketball arena. (The current Frank Erwin Center has a 16,540-seat capacity for basketball. Average attendance over the last ﬁve years has been 12,275 with the peak attendance reaching approximately 14,679.)
The on-campus location acknowledges the expressed need to make the arena walkable for students and the real-estate realties in Austin and around the campus that make development difficult.
The release includes a wishlist of multiple facility upgrades and replacements, such as a the new tennis facility currently under construction on the east side of I-35, a replacement for the Denton Cooley basketball practice facility (shown above at the corner of Clyde Littlefield Drive and Red River), transforming "The Bubble" into a permanent indoor football practice facility, adding an open-air swimming and diving complex, as well as closing the south end of DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium, among others.
Building Longhorn Network productions studios with better proximity to the athletic venues is also a priority, as the studios are currently just north of campus at the old location of Concordia University.
Again, this is just a proposal at the moment, and would require approval from Greg Fenves and the UT Board of Regents before any decision could be made, but it's a proposal that seems to finally be gaining some solidity, nonetheless.