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Tulane's Yulman Stadium taking shape

NEW ORLEANS - It's Homecoming Week on the Tulane campus. For students, it's an exciting time, but next year Homecoming will bring an entirely new experience.

"We can just walk to the stadium as opposed having to take a shuttle," said freshman Danielle Elbendary.

Freshman Natalie George believes that will help her fellow students embrace Tulane football.

"I think there will be a lot more attendance at the games and more school spirit, so I'm really excited," she said.

"(The stadium is) right there. You'll be able to hear the cheering from here," said freshman Ryan Fishel.

Yulman Stadium - a future 30,000-seat venue - is now beginning to take shape on the campus' north end.

Crews are working against the clock to have it ready for next season.

"Steel is coming up out of the ground, and we really are making great progress," said Yvette Jones, Executive Vice President for University Relations. "The weather has been cooperating, so, we feel pretty good about making our schedule for fall."

Jones said construction on the stands and seating areas begins next month, which will launch the $70 million project into an exciting new phase.

"By the end of the calendar year, you really will see that the spaces are enclosed," Jones said. "A lot of work will start to take place inside of the stadium, and then as we get into the spring and so forth, you'll start to see the fields go down and get very close to finishing up."

Currently, what will eventually be the larger, home side of the stadium is the furthest along. That area will also contain the club suites. The opposite side will house the press box and, ultimately, seating will completely enclose the field, bringing back the bowl look of the old Tulane Stadium.

It's a project that once stirred its share of controversy among neighbors and others, but it's one that is now moving forward – something university leaders call a game-changer.

"It's gonna change the way our students feel about football, about athletics, but more than anything, it's a place where everybody can come together," Jones said. "So, it'll be students, alumni, the New Orleans community, and we haven't had that in 40 years. And it will be an intimate setting for an athletic event or any event that we have there."

The university is still working to map out on-campus tailgating and game-day activities for next season, and officials say they'll hold meetings with neighbors when that happens.

According to the official Yulman Stadium web site, Tulane's last on-campus game was held Nov. 30, 1974 against Ole Miss.

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