The University of Texas is soliciting interest from potential qualified developers to build and operate a new basketball arena that could have a projected cost of $350-$450 million, the school announced in a press release Friday.
“This process is a critical step in the planning and development of the new arena and for the future of Texas Basketball,” Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said in the release. “It’s going to be a tremendous facility that our student-athletes, coaches and fans can be extremely proud of, and one I know everyone is committed to making a great addition to all of the venues on our campus. We’re really excited about getting this process rolling, moving forward and designing an awesome arena.”
The new arena will replace the 16,500-seat Frank Erwin Center, which opened its doors in November of 1977.
“We have a unique opportunity to develop a world-class arena and training center for the men’s and women’s basketball teams that will help us recruit and support elite student-athletes, improve the fan experience and host games just a short walk away for our student fans,” UT President Gregory L. Fenves said in a statement.
On Friday, Texas submitted a Request for Qualification and Proposal to the university’s Purchasing Office. The primary aim of the request is to find private individuals and/or companies that have built, organized and/or funded other major college or pro basketball arenas.
As for the location, Fenves said that there were several building sites on the list, but there are two preferred choices. The facility would either go in the area occupied by a parking lot south of Mike A. Myers Stadium, or the area occupied by the Recreational Sports Center and Steve Hicks School of Social Work south of Darrell K Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium.
“Just as important, we are looking to do this at little cost to the university and no financial cost to the community,” Fenves also stated.
This arena will also include men’s and women’s practice facilities, as Cooley Pavilion (Texas’ current hoops practice spot) will be demolished along with the Erwin Center, which must be abandoned for the continued expansion of Dell Medical School.
As of now, there is no target date for the completion of the project.
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