‘We’re gonna blow up the Drum’: Frank Erwin Center finally gets a demolition timeline

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

KUT | By Olivia Aldridge / Published May 4, 2023 at 11:10 AM CDT

There was a call for a drumroll as UT President Jay Hartzell approached the mic to introduce a plan to demolish the Frank Erwin Center.

“I hope this might come across as somewhat exciting, but we’re gonna blow up the Drum,” Hartzell said at a Board of Regents meeting Wednesday.

A general plan to demolish or move the Erwin Center has been on the table for around a decade, an effort to make space for Dell Medical School to expand. The aging arena was replaced by the Moody Center just over a year ago.

Following a recommendation from the Facilities Planning and Construction Committee, the regents voted Thursday to add the demolition project to the university’s current Capital Improvement Program at a cost of $25 million. Steps to remove the arena and the nearby Denton A. Cooley Pavilion will begin in June and are expected to conclude by September 2024, according to Hartzell.

The site will be rehabilitated for Dell Medical School’s expansion. Plan documents from 2013 show academic and research buildings, parking structures and housing moving onto the property. A university spokesperson said those plans are out of date but additional details on the medical school’s expansion have yet to be determined.

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