With the dust barely cleared from the last round of intensive renovations at the Yale Bowl, the cranes and construction crews are set to return to the historic facility at the end of the academic year.
In late spring 2008, construction will begin on the Kenney Family Field Center and the Jensen Family Plaza, two new additions to the Yale Bowl complex, Senior Associate Director of Athletics Barbara Chesler said this week. Named for noted alumni of the Bulldogs football team, the facilities will provide new spaces for meetings and a grand new entrance to a facility that has played a significant role in the Yale community since its erection in 1914. While the administration has been planning the projects for years, the start date had not previously been announced.
Chesler said the Field Center will be an 8,800-square-foot addition that will serve as a pre-game and halftime facility for the football team. Additionally, the center will include a hospitality room off the promenade level for alumni gatherings and other football-related functions. The new facility will provide room for the team to meet as a whole or to separate into smaller groups, she said.
The facility was modeled after plans for a similar building that was designed nearly 100 years ago but never completed, Chesler said. The plans for this building and plaza were part of a master plan for the entire Bowl complex, designed by Centerbrook Architects of Centerbrook, Conn.
The other addition, the Jensen Family Plaza, will span 45,800 square feet and serve as a grand entry into the complex, drawing fans to the Bowl, Chesler said. Ultimately, the plaza will connect the Yale Bowl to Reese Stadium, the home to men’s lacrosse and both men’s and women’s soccer teams.
Chesler said the names of all former football team members and memorabilia from the history of the Yale Bowl will be incorporated in the plaza, which will be situated in front of Gate D.
Varsity football head coach Jack Siedlecki said the halftime room will make for a better pregame and halftime experience. The facility as a whole will be a major attraction to recruits and their families, he said.
“[The renovation] reflects commitment to the program from our administration and alumni,” Siedlecki said. “It enables our players to play in a showcase facility.”
Later in the decade, Phase II of the renovations to Reese Stadium will begin. The recently renamed facility received a brand new FieldTurf surface last winter, and will undergo further upgrades once the Jensen Family Plaza is completed.
The last phase of renovations to the Yale Bowl itself wrapped up in time for the 2006 championship season. The construction, which began in May 2005, brought extensive upgrades to seating areas, tunnels leading from the outside concourse to the inside of the Bowl, and drainage facilities, as well as a new iron picket fence with brick pillars along Yale Avenue and Chapel Street.
Director of Athletics Thomas Beckett said the renovations to the Bowl are also important for the greater university. Yale hopes to preserve the beauty of this structure and provide the University’s students, fans, alumni and visitors with the pleasure of experiencing football from its stands.
“The Yale Bowl is on The National Registry of historic facilities and is a true treasure,” Beckett said. “[It] is a source of pride for this entire region, and also serves as a monument to the traditions and rich history of all of college football.”