May 16, 2005

Yale Bowl Project Moving Along

May 16, 2005

The restoration of Yale Bowl, a project which has been approved by the Yale Corporation, has now officially begun. Substantial completion is projected by the fall of 2006.

The initial phase of the project, the installation of an iron picket fence with brick columns along Yale Avenue and Chapel Street, has already been completed. Work will continue with the rebuilding of the interior and exterior walls, the repair or replacement of 17 miles of wood seats and upgrading of all drainage and utilities. The 30 tunnels including the entrances and wing walls at the exits will also be totally refurbished. Overall seating capacity of the venue will not be altered.

"We are very excited about restoring the Bowl. Tackling a national historic landmark is a daunting task. The efforts to rebuild and preserve this grand facility will stand as a fitting tribute to the hundreds of young men who have competed for Yale." said Yale Athletics Director Tom Beckett.

Each portal at the Bowl will be named to honor a class, team or individual. Gifts have already been made to name more than 20 of the 30 portals. Portal No. 9 has already been partially restored as an example of the projected finish product.

"Through nearly 100 years of changes in our university, society and the game of football, the Bowl has stood as a constant, unifying and hallowed ground for the men of Yale Football. Few players among us will ever forget either the first or the last time we walked down the tunnel and emerged onto the field," said Pat Ruwe '83, the president of the Yale Football Association and a former Bulldog captain. "Through grass roots fundraising efforts and many significant gifts from former players and fans, we are working toward restoring the Bowl to its original splendor and thus preserving in perpetuity its historical presence in the Yale community for players and spectators alike."

The playing surface in the Bowl will be named after the Class of 1954, which has provided the project's lead gift, including contributions on seven different portals. Charles Johnson '54 provided a leadership gift that was matched by his class.

"You will certainly see the changes when you come to the Bowl this fall," said legendary Yale football coach Carm Cozza, who has headed up the fundraising effort for the project. "All of this is made possible by the former players and friends of Yale football, and I can't thank them enough for their support."

Vincent Benic Architects has designed the plans for the work, and O&G Industries, Inc. is handling the construction of the two-year project. Total costs are estimated at just under $21 million.

"The restored Bowl will be the centerpiece of the football program. It will be exciting for players, coaches, fans, recruits and everyone associated with Yale University, and we are enthusiastically looking forward to the first game in the restored Bowl," said Jack Siedlecki, the Joel E. Smilow '54 Head Coach of Football.

The Bowl, which opened on Nov. 21, 1914, for the Yale-Harvard game, has been the site of hundreds of college football games, two seasons of NFL action, and was the main venue for the 1995 World Special Olympic Games. It is 930 feet long and 750 feet wide, covering 12.5 acres. More than 320,000 cubic feet of earth was moved to form the Bowl and the stadium now contains 22,000 cubic yards of concrete and 470 tons of steel. The capacity of the Bowl is 64,269 (it was 70,869 before alterations) and every seat has an unobstructed view of the playing field. It was built in 16 months for $750,000 with 145 men from New Haven's Sperry Engineering Company.

"Each time you set foot on the field at Yale Bowl there is a sense of tradition and what has come before you," said Yale Football captain Jeff Mroz '05. "I think that every Yale football player -- past and present -- has a special connection to it. Its restoration only upholds and maintains the great tradition."

report filed by Steve Conn, Yale Assistant AD and Sports Publicity Director