The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

The student-run newspaper of the Liberal Arts and Science Academy

The Liberator

Healthcare Needs a Home

Frank Erwin Center to be Replaced by M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
Annabel Andre
BREAK IT DOWN | The Frank Erwin Center is in the midst of demolition. The center used to be a multi-purpose entertainment center, where both the UT men’s and women’s basketball teams would compete.

In August 2023, the University of Texas at Austin (UT) published a press release informing the public of a plan to construct an MD Anderson Hospital directly beside a University of Texas at Austin (UT) Specialty Hospital, replacing the multi-use UT entertainment center: the Frank Erwin Center. 

The construction of these two hospitals allows for more opportunities for patients and UT faculty alike. Due to M.D. Anderson’s leading status in cancer research and treatment, the hospital will provide more widespread care. 

“The new UT MD Anderson hospital in Austin will be fully staffed by MD Anderson physicians, making it easier for patients in Central Texas to access the world’s leading multidisciplinary, subspecialty-focused cancer care,” said MD Anderson in a press release. “UT Austin’s new university hospital will be constructed adjacent to the MD Anderson site.” 

MD Anderson Cancer Center has multiple locations in and surrounding Houston, with the nearest location being around an hour away from Austin. LASA school nurse, Alicia Murphey, is glad that cancer patients in Austin will be able to receive new treatments without the strain of travel. 

“We already have the MD Anderson Center in Houston which is world-renowned, people from all over go to the center,” Murphey said. “This will be another second location that will increase the amount of patients that they’re able to take on. People that are west of Austin won’t have to travel all the way to Houston, they can just go to Austin. It’ll be wonderful.” 

In addition to providing countless benefits to cancer patients, both hospitals provide advantages for healthcare students at UT through the form of hospital clinicals, according to Murphey. These clinicals allow for further education in the healthcare field with real-world experiences.

NEW LIFE | The center is now being converted into an MD Anderson hospital whose construction is estimated to cost $2.5 billion. The construction for the hospital will begin in 2026. (Annabel Andre)

“In your training in nursing school you are going into hospital settings to practice and learn nursing skills and so you need hands-on training,” Murphey said. “This will be another wonderful resource to get that hands-on training, especially with cancer patients.”

Similarly for college applicants, UT’s hospital plan puts it high on the list for those hoping to pursue majors in the healthcare field. An Anderson High School student, who wishes to remain anonymous as she has not committed to UT yet, believes that the hospital construction will bring opportunities to UT students. 

“I think that UT is a very up-and-coming school for pre-med and medical education,” the student said. “Having these hospitals on campus is just a bonus. They offer a different caliber of exposure to medical cases, and I would assume that having major care centers on campus would increase student’s opportunities to shadow or participate in clinical rotations. I also imagine that the hospitals will attract some highly successful doctors.”

This growth doesn’t come without the cost of removing the Frank Erwin Center, or “The Dome” as it is commonly referred to. Built in 1977, the center has acted as a multi-functional entertainment center, known for hosting basketball games, concerts, and even bull riding. 

“I knew that they had something planned for the Erwin Center because I’ve been in Austin for 25 years,” Murphey said. “I used to go to all the basketball games, some concerts, and my daughters grew up and visited the circus there.”

Despite the loss of the Frank Erwin Center, the project creates numerous opportunities for patients, students, and medical professionals alike. According to an MD Anderson press release on Aug. 14, 2023, the large project is estimated to cost $2.5 billion with full demolition of the Frank Erwin Center set for fall 2024 and hospital construction beginning in 2026.

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