Austin/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on May 20, 2024
Austin's Frank Erwin Center Demolished to Make Way for UT Medical School ExpansionSource: Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Frank Erwin Center, once a bustling hub for Texas Longhorns basketball and a venue that hosted musical icons, has been demolished. According to KXAN, the final structural supports of the Austin landmark came crashing down on Sunday, ending an era for the beloved arena known colloquially as "The Drum."

With the demolition, the University of Texas at Austin aims to clear space for an expansion of its Dell Medical School. The move to decisively tear down the Erwin Center was not without nostalgia. In a briefing scheduled for Monday, officials are expected to outline the final steps of the project. Dan Cook, of UT's department for planning, design, and construction, along with SpawGlass executive Ryan Syring, are to lead the briefing and provide additional details on the demolition.

The end of the line for the 500,000-square-foot center, originally erected in 1977, follows the center's replacement by the new Moody Center in 2022. The Erwin Center saw more than 500 victories each for both the men's and women's Longhorns basketball teams. The last burst of entertainment within its walls echoed with the humor and antics of the Harlem Globetrotters in April 2022.

In its storied life, the arena also played host to a roster of significant musical performances. Notably, John Denver's 1978 concert brought together nearly 17,900 fans, marking the highest attendance for a single event at the venue. A video posted on YouTube detailed the arena's historic final moments, nostalgically reminding that the venue "was home to Texas basketball for almost 50 years."

The University of Texas Board of Regents, which approved the $25 million demolition project in May 2023, has eyed the prominent campus location for a new medical facility. This development will be in collaboration with the reputable MD Anderson Cancer Center. The area where the Erwin Center and the Denton A. Cooley Pavilion stood is anticipated to be cleared completely by September.

Austin-Real Estate & Development