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The Frank C. Erwin, Jr. Special Events Center — usually just The Frank Erwin Center in common usage — is a multi-purpose arena on the campus of The University of Texas at Austinmarker. It is also sometimes referred to as "The Drum" or "The Superdrum", owing to its drum-like appearance from outside (not to be confused with Big Bertha, the large bass drum used by the University of Texas marching band). The facility is primarily the home court for the UT men's and women's basketball programs.

History

The center, intended to replace Gregory Gymnasiummarker, cost $34 million to build in 1977. The first event to play at the Center was a UT basketball game which occurred on November 29, 1977[ http://www.uterwincenter.com/applause/2007/mar07ap/erc30.html]UT began a three phase renovation of the center in 2001 and finished in 2003. The building is named for former UT Board of Regents member Frank Erwin, who attended the The University of Texas and was a member of the same fraternity, Kappa Sigma, as several other prominent alumni who have had buildings at the University named after them (such as Beauford Jester, William Hogg and Harry Huntt Ransom). As a Regent, Frank Erwin was instrumental in the university making great strides in the expansion of its facilities during his term. Originally known as the Special Events Center from 1963 to 1975, the facility was renamed in 1980 to honor Erwin, who had died that same year. The University has been in recent discussions about selling the naming rights for the Erwin Center.

Seating

A two-level layout (the lower arena and upper mezzanine) accommodates up to 16,755 spectators. The outer ring of the arena averages around 20 rows deep, while the mezzanine is slightly deeper at around 24 rows. The size of the arena's inner ring is highly dependent on the event being hosted.

Current Use

Located right next to downtown Austinmarker, Texasmarker, The Erwin Center is generally accepted to be Austin's current premier venue for large public and private events. The center holds many diverse events ranging from concerts to wrestling events and private banquets. The Erwin Center also hosts the semifinals and finals of the University Interscholastic League boys' and girls' basketball playoffs in all five classifications.



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