Peden Stadium is an American football stadium on the campus of Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Situated on the banks of the Hocking River with a seated capacity of 27,000. Peden Stadium has been the home of the Ohio Bobcats football team since 1929 and has often been cited as one of the most picturesque venues in college football. It is the oldest college football venue in the Mid-American Conference and among the oldest in the nation. At suggestion of an alumnus, Peden Stadium has been designated as an official Ohio historical site.
Peden Stadium Interior
|Former names||Ohio University's Athletic Plant (1929–1946)|
|Location||Richland Avenue & South Green Drive|
Athens, OH 45701
|Capacity||27,000 with Victory Hill and planned Student Academic Center.|
|Surface||FieldTurf 2002 to present|
Natural grass 1929 to 2001
|Opened||October 5, 1929|
($2.7 million in 2018 dollars)
|Architect||Osborn Engineering Company|
|Ohio Bobcats (NCAA) (1929-present)|
The facility, originally known as Ohio Stadium, not to be mistaken for Ohio Stadium in Columbus, was built at a cost of $185,000 and was completed in 1929. The stadium originally sat 12,000 fans with grandstands on each side of the playing field. The first game at the venue featured a 14-0 Bobcats victory over archrival Miami University in front of a sellout crowd. Following the retirement of legendary Ohio football coach Don Peden in 1946, the stadium was renamed Peden Stadium. It was designed by Osborn Engineering, who designed other sports venues such as Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, and Cleveland Stadium.
The "Bobcat's Lair" has undergone several modifications through the years. In 1986, the seating capacity was increased to 19,000 with the addition of two new grandstands in the north end zone. Four years later, a five story tower, called the Peden Tower, was added to the stadium's west side. Today, this state-of-the-art facility houses press boxes, game day suites, football offices, athletic training facilities, team meeting rooms, a recruiting lounge, a ticket office, the football locker room, and Ohio Athletics' academic services and compliance departments. In 1999, a new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) strength and conditioning center called The Carin Center was added to the ground level of Peden Stadium.
Several other historic events have occurred at the Stadium, including a visit by then President Lyndon B. Johnson, as well as an event which featured a landing by helicopter on the 50-yard line by former President Eisenhower. The stadium has served as a venue for many visiting national collegiate teams including the Big Ten. A bronze life-sized sculpture of an Ohio Bobcat, commissioned by a well known naturalist artist, stands poised at the north of the stadium.
At the suggestion of Michael A. Massa, an alumnus, Peden Stadium was formally designated an official Ohio Historical Site, and an Ohio Historical Marker was placed at the front of the stadium in August 2010.
Some of the most extensive renovations, though, occurred after the 2000 football season. This $2.8 million project removed the track, lowered the stadium's playing surface by 10 feet (3.0 m), and increased the seating capacity to its current mark of 24,000 with the addition of lower-level, bleacher-back seats collectively called the Phillips Club. Also during this renovation, permanent seating for the marching band, The Ohio University Marching 110, was created in the north end zone and Victory Hill, a grass berm for overflow seating, was added to the south end of the field. In 2002, the natural grass playing surface at the stadium was replaced with FieldTurf, and in 2017, an updated video scoreboard was added to the south end zone. Following the completion of the 2004 season, the stadium underwent another large project that renovated/expanded the stadium's athletic training facilities, added a large team auditorium, improved position meeting rooms, expanded the recruiting lounge, and enlarged office space for the football coaches. In 2009, the Marching 110's former permanent location in the north end zone was transformed into "Touchdown Club" donor seating, and the band returned to their former location in the general admission seating by the student section.
Perry and Sandy Sook Academic CenterEdit
In 2014, the administration of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, along with Varsity OHIO and affiliated university alumni organizations and bodies, began a cooperative campaign for a state-of-the-art academic wing at Peden Stadium due to crowded interior space for students, and renovated locker rooms for teams that had not received prior renovations. Incorporated into this new building are public use pavilions and a sports supporter club terrace. Completed in the fall of 2018, and designed by Ohio-based MSA Sport, the Perry and Sandy Sook Center is a 26,000 s.f. center of academic excellence containing an academic advising area (including offices, tutor rooms, and conference areas), a large multi-purpose classroom that also serves as a game-day hospitality area, large observation deck overlooking the field, and also provides fan amenities on the lower level including restrooms, concessions, and a dedicated hospitality area. 
Though the attendance for Peden Stadium is listed at 24,000, Victory Hill allows for standing room beyond the listed capacity. As such, the attendance records at the stadium all eclipse the 24,000 mark, and additionally, creating a potential standing capacity for 27,000 once the new academic center is completed at the stadium's north endzone in 2018.
|1||September 8, 2012||25,893||Ohio 51 - New Mexico State 24|
|2||October 13, 2012||25,542||Ohio 34 - Akron 28|
|3||September 20, 2014||25,211||Ohio 36 - Idaho 24|
|4||September 12, 2015||25,210||Ohio 21 - Marshall 10|
|5||October 10, 2015||25,086||Ohio 24 - Miami (Ohio) 3|
In addition to serving as the home of Ohio Bobcats football games, the stadium has been used for several other purposes. It has hosted numerous local high school football games and high school state playoff games. In addition, the stadium serves as the home of Ohio's "O Zone" Student Cheering Section, The North End Terrace Club, The Bobcat Club, and an annual homecoming "Yell Like Hell" pep rally as well as having been the site of several concerts. 5k Runs have started from the 50 yard line. It even served as a helicopter landing area for former President Eisenhower in the 1960s.
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