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Say goodbye to the Frank Erwin Center

The old home to Texas basketball will be completely gone from the skyline by the end of summer.

An excavator moving debris in front of the nearly demolished Frank Erwin Center skeleton.

The Frank Erwin Center stood for 46 years, though plans to replace “The Drum” began ~10 years ago.

Photo by ATXtoday

By the time summer turns to fall, the Frank Erwin Center will be a memory.

The former home to Texas basketball is now down to a skeleton. Crews anticipate that the entire building, including underground structures, will be completely gone by September.

Demolition began in August, when the University of Texas System Board of Regents announced that the venue would be torn down to make room for a new MD Anderson cancer treatment center and UT Austin specialty University Hospital.

The venue’s demolition has been in the works for ~10 years. The Moody Center opened as a replacement venue in 2022 and plans to replace the building were announced in 2014.

Before: the rounded Frank Erwin Center as seen from in the air. After: the center's steel structure surrounded by debris and a basketball hoop.

The Frank Erwin Center was demolished through a reverse engineering process, as opposed to using explosives.

Photos by ATXtoday and LoneStarMike

The building — which was also called “The Drum” for its round shape — was built in 1977 and cost $34 million to erect. Demolition is expected to cost $25 million.

Instead of using explosives, crews used a reverse engineering process to perform the demolition, starting with the roof and transferring all the materials down to the ground through a chute in the center of the venue.

An excavator moving debris in front of the Frank Erwin Center sign.

The Frank Erwin Center’s iconic sign will remain standing to promote events at the Moody Center.

Photo by ATXtoday

UT Austin’s Executive Director of Planning, Design, and Construction Dan Cook said 80% of the recovered materials will be reused or recycled. Those materials include ~4,000 tons of steel and ~135,000 tons of concrete.

As of now, the Frank Erwin Center’s sign will remain standing to advertise events at the Moody Center.