Erwin Center officially gone in Downtown Austin

The Erwin Center is now gone for good. UT officials said the structure collapsed in on itself after crews tore down the remaining columns.

The tear-down was done early on Sunday morning, May 19. It was a choice made on purpose to do it during a time when there would be reduced traffic and pedestrian activity. 

Dan Cook, executive director for planning design and construction for the project, said it all went according to plan.

MORE: UT Austin provides inside look at Frank Erwin Center demo

"Various cuts were made in the structural elements around the building that allowed for two of the columns to be removed," Cook said. "The third of 12 remaining columns was taken out of its position. And once that third column was removed, the roof structure started to fall in on itself, which is what we had expected to happen."

This was an effort he said had been in the works for eight months, disassembling the building piece by piece. Even though it sounded like it, no explosives were involved.

"Gravity took over really as the roof system started coming down," Cook said.


The Erwin Center opened in 1977, and was home to a multitude of UT's events, including basketball games and concerts. It's a building many admit they're sad to see go.

"There's a lot of love for the Erwin Center that we will all celebrate," Cook said. "We've tried to preserve some of that as best we could through photos, videos, memorabilia. We also, I think, from a positive perspective, feel like the Moody Center is a great place where a lot of those memories are being remade."

The project to demolish the Erwin Center came with a $25 million budget, which Cook said they remained under. He also added that 80 percent of the building will be recycled.

What is now a bed of debris and rubble will be the future home of UT's new medical complex, which they hope to welcome its first patient by 2030.

"Looking forward to the future. I think 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," Cook said.

While the main part of the demolition was completed, there is still some cleanup to be done. That is expected to be finished by September 2024.