Editor's note: this article has been updated to reflect the MD Anderson Cancer Center will be staffed by MD Anderson physicians.

As the former Frank Erwin Center comes down, a new medical center will be built up.

What's happening

Plans to launch two hospital towers—The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and a UT Austin hospital—were announced in August 2023, set to replace what was once a special events center.

“The establishment of the [medical center] will undoubtedly result in transformative cancer care, provide students at the flagship campus with unmatched experiences, and benefit patients throughout the state and nation for all time,” said Kevin P. Eltife, UT System Board of Regents chair.

The hospital will have around 250 beds, while the new cancer center, staffed by MD Anderson physicians, will include 156 beds and over 230 outpatient exam rooms.

UT students studying medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work will be able to work and learn at the new hospitals.

The framework

The Frank Erwin Center was completely demolished May 19, a task that has been in the works since June 2023 as crews took down the center piece by piece.

Around 70-100 workers worked on demolishing the center, tearing down the site opposite to how it was first built, meaning they began with demolishing the last parts that were built.

The demolition was completed below its $25 million budget and ahead of schedule, according to previous Community Impact reporting. About 80% of materials, including concrete and steel, from the center are planned to be recycled.

By September, crews are expected to finish clearing away pieces of concrete that still remain.

The backstory

The Frank Erwin Center opened in 1977 and only had about a 50-year standard. Dan Cook, UT's executive director of planning, design and construction told Community Impact that after 50 years, buildings at the time would have to either be reinvested in to improve the structure or a new facility would be built.

The center was around 500,000 square feet, spanning up to six stories that hosted UT women's and men's basketball games, graduation ceremonies, concerts, and other large-scale events. Now, it is replaced by the Moody Center, which opened in April 2022, just a few blocks north of the old center.

What’s next

Construction on the new medical towers will break ground in 2026, and UT officials anticipate accepting patients by 2030.

“We’re looking forward to the future,” Cook said. “We've seen that Austin has been growing, and the partnership between the university and the MD Anderson Cancer Center presents itself as a really special opportunity to create what we're referring to as a joint Medical Center that will provide world-class health care to the community.”