Posted: 8:00 a.m. Friday, May 10, 2013
By The Audit Horn
In open session for the UT Board of Regents meeting in May 2013, UT architecture professor Lawrence Speck unveiled his plans for establishing the first medical school built by an Association of American Universities member in decades.
The initial phase, explained in the system's press release for the presentation, calls for realignment of Red River Street. The realignment, needed to straighten the 1970s construction of curved road that makes planning in the area difficult, would allow for better functional use of the Red River corridor between Martin Luther King Boulevard and 15th Street.
With the road corrected, the school's hospital (in partnership with Seton Healthcare Family and Central Health) and education/administrative buildings will be put in place. Included in the first phase is replacement of the Penick-Allison Tennis Center, a relocation that the school's Athletics Department will be responsible for.
While the initial phases of construction, meant to get the school open for summer 2016, don't include plans for the Frank Erwin Center, professor Speck mentioned the long term plans for the medical school district will call for removal of the school's basketball and multi-function arena.
The long-term plans, viewable in this image of the final plan, would replace the Erwin Center with space used for student housing, and would take place sometime in the next 6 to 15 years.
Speck did not specify where the new facility would be relocated, but mentioned ongoing conversations the planners have had with the Athletics Department. Included in that conversation is AD acknowledgment that the Erwin Center may not be the most suitable site for the school's basketball programs, given its size and the location in regards to the rest of the university.
While the plans don't address the team's CBI bid in the 2012-2013 season, it does provide hope for those that see the Erwin Center's shortcomings as a basketball venue and hope to see a change in scenery.