Renovations to the Yale Bowl are still in progress, but the Harvard-Yale game will proceed as planned at the stadium, head football coach Jack Siedlecki said.
The project began this past spring and is expected to be completed before the start of the next academic year, but it has not significantly affected football game attendance or the regular football schedule, Siedlecki said. Construction crews will finish much of the current phase of renovations — the refurbishment of home-side seating of the bowl — by Nov. 19 in anticipation of the season’s final home game, and other ongoing renovations will not inhibit full use of the space, he said.
“The only thing you’d notice is the new seating — they’ve done a great job preparing it for the games,” Siedlecki said. “All seats should be available for the Harvard-Yale game.”
Terry Roye, one of the project’s managers, said the current refurbishing is not preventing regular use of the bowl because the changes are being phased in gradually.
“The trick of the whole thing has been phasing,” Roye said. “The biggest challenge we’ve had with the design team has been making sure the field is usable during the season. With phasing, we’ve planned it so we can do what we can piece by piece.”
The University is working to restore the 91 year-old stadium through a number of improvements, including the construction of new seating, the widening of the bowl’s promenade and the installation of new water and sewage lines underneath the field. The walls of the stadium are also undergoing repair — decayed and broken parts will be replaced, Roye said.
Aside from the normal complexity of restoring a large sports arena, the construction team has faced the challenge of repairing the older lower half of the stadium, which was constructed in 1914, seven years before the construction of the upper half.
Despite such extensive construction, the football team has not had to deal with any negative repercussions, linebacker Drew Palin ’06 said.
“The project hasn’t been in the way at all,” Palin said. “Every time we’ve wanted to use the bowl, we’ve had no problem.”
The newly-renovated portions of the stadium have already received positive reviews, Athletic Director Tom Beckett said.
“Although the players don’t get to appreciate the change as much as we’d like, the spectators are definitely much more comfortable. We’ve had very favorable comments,” Beckett said.
Roye said the project is not merely the restoration of a building, but the rebirth of a historical monument with “charming character.”
“We needed to renovate [the bowl] to restore it to its former glory,” Roye said. “We want to restore it to the jewel it used to be.”