Plans made to fix Yale Bowl

The football team is one step closer to having a refurbished home.

Administrators believe the Yale Bowl will not be restored this year. However, the Department of Athletics, in conjunction with Vincent Benic Architects of New York, has completed a study of potential Yale Bowl renovations.

From the study, Yale administrators and Vincent Benic Architects have developed a list of tasks that would make up the first restoration phase of a larger Yale Bowl overhaul, capital projects director John Merrill said.

Among other things, the plan calls for the repair of 29 portals, a restoration of the Bowl’s exterior wall, and the installation of a new drainage system.

The Athletics Department drafted the first phase of a plan to help benefactors and administrators understand the complete scope of the Yale Bowl’s restoration.

“For the last couple of years we’ve been trying to get a plan together,” Merrill said. “[The completed study] is a step in the right direction.”

As of September 2001, former Yale football head coach Carmen Cozza had helped the Football Alumni Association raise $2.6 million for the restoration.

But with the price tag for a complete renovation estimated at $25 million — all of which must come from alumni donations — the Association is far from having enough money to begin the project.

“We don’t want to start and then not finish anything we want to do for obvious fiscal reasons,” Athletics Director Tom Beckett said. “We needed this study to identify our exact needs at this point.”

Although the phase-one plan covers essential restoration projects, Merrill said there are other plans that go beyond rejuvenation and focus on adding amenities to the existing facility, including a formal plaza on the back side of the Bowl, handicapped access to the press box, and more bathrooms.

“The way the traffic has developed around the Yale Bowl on game day, a lot of people can’t really enter through the front,” Merrill said. “Most people come from the parking lots in the IM fields, which looks like a no-man’s land now. We just want to make it more welcoming.”

The University last renovated the Bowl in 1993, when the playing field was reconstructed to include new irrigation and drainage systems. In 1995, before the International Special Olympics, the University modernized Portal 7, which will be a template for future renovations to the remaining portals.

After the first phase is completed, Merrill hopes that the next stage will focus on connecting the Yale Bowl to the Soccer-Lacrosse stadium, linking the Bowl to the grounds behind Joel E. Smilow field house.

“We would like to see the place filled in and connected so it feels like a complex,” Merrill said.

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