AUSTIN (KXAN) — Standing-room only and a home court advantage.
That’s all the University of Texas’ Minister of Culture wants for the new, on-campus arena that will be the home for UT basketball along with concerts and special events.
Matthew McConaughey, UT’s MOC, joined UT President Greg Fenves and Athletic Director Chris Del Conte Tuesday to break ground on the Moody Center. Construction is estimated to be complete during the first quarter of 2020.
Last December, UT Austin announced it would build the Moody Center on campus on Red River Street at the current site of the Frank C. Erwin Jr. Special Events Center.
The Moody Center, named after the Moody Foundation which donated a $130 million grant to the university, is expected to open in 2022. The 10,000-seat arena can expand to accommodate 15,000 seats. UT Austin expects in addition to hosting men’s and women’s basketball games, it will be the site of concerts, graduations and other events.
“(We’re) honoring our ancestors by building a bigger better future for generations of Texans,” Ross Moody, trustee for the Moody Foundation, said.
The $130 million grant is the largest gift the foundation has ever made and the largest gift from a single foundation to the school.
“This is going to be the finest facility ever built in all of the NCAA,” Tim Leiweke, CEO of the Oak View Group, said.
The Oak View Group was approved by the UT Board of Regents to build the new arena and Longhorns practice facility.
The Longhorns current practice facility, Cooley Pavilion, is set to be replaced to give way for expansions of Dell Medical School. At the beginning of November, the UT Board of Regents discussed working with Oak View Group, LLC to build a new practice facility next to the new arena.
Tuesday night’s groundbreaking happened at 5 p.m. Tuesday, followed by a concert by Moon Taxi and a 7 p.m. men’s basketball game against the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB).