Yale football fans will soon be sitting in new bench seats and walking through refurbished entrance tunnels when they come to home games.

Last spring, the first of two stages of renovation began on the legendary Yale Bowl, with the goal of restoring the stadium to its former glory. Throughout the unusually hot summer, workers have been nearing completion on the initial stage of the project, which includes replacing the seats, fixing the interior walls and upgrading the utilities. Once this interior face-lift is completed, work can begin on the exterior walls and 30 entrance portals.

The project is estimated to cost $21 million and take slightly more than a year to finish.

The Yale Bowl’s restoration will secure its reputation among collegiate football stadiums. Built in 1914, the Bowl is one of four Yale buildings listed as national historic landmarks.

Generations of Bulldog football alumni and fans have given donations in a grassroots fund-raising effort stretching back to storied former head coach Carm Cozza’s tenure.

Team captain Jeff Mroz ’06 credits Cozza as the driving force behind the restoration project.

“The Bowl is one of the finer stadiums in college football, but it has gotten away from us the last few years,” Mroz said. “This is something that needed to be done. Thanks to former coach Carm Cozza, now it’s finally in action.”

Recently, the Bulldogs hosted a barbeque for the workers across the street from the construction site. According to those involved, the event was a success.

“A lot of the workers had been coming to games,” Mroz said. “It was fun to for them to get a little break and meet some of the players.”

Mroz said that he hopes to see work begin on the portals by the time the team suits up for the Harvard-Yale game.

Matt Handlon ’06, a starting defensive back, said the event offered a good opportunity to meet with the builders.

“Some of them weren’t the biggest fans, but they were very interested in the team and in Yale football in general,” Handlon said. “It was good to let them know that we appreciate what they’re doing.”

Handlon said that groups of four players sat at tables with four workers. The workers did not waste their chance to speak with the members of the team.

“They were very interested to talk to us,” Handlon said. “They asked how the restoration was going to change our mindset.”

The renovations to the Bowl will certainly be a source of pride for alumni.

“It’s nice to have a state of the art stadium,” Mroz said. “But it will mean more to everybody once they graduate. When they come back to Yale games, there will be a sense of pride, a sense of tradition.”

[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”15905″ ]