Chessa Field, located on the west end of the Athletic Mall, has served as the home to the Ohio women's soccer programs since 2002.
The site, previously served as a practice site, was renovated and transformed into the competition facility. The Kentucky Bluegrass and Rye athletic turf grass mix sits atop a modern irrigation and drainage system. A soccer specific scoreboard is situated across from the press box and seating grandstand that can accommodate 750 fans.
Chessa Field could not have been made possible without the generous contribution of Ohio University employee Scott Blower and his wife, Crista, a 1985 Ohio University graduate. The couples contribution of $70,000 in 2003 was spent to renovate the playing surface of Chessa Field, making it the university's largest private gift to women's athletics.
A portion of their gift was also used to improve the landscape near ticket gates 2 and 3 at Peden Stadium. The soccer field renovations included the installation of a state-of-the-art laser-leveled and widened grass playing surface, an underground drainage system and an improved irrigation system. Other improvements at the soccer facility included the construction of a press box and the addition of a simulated wrought-iron fence adjacent to Shafer Street.
A resident of Lancaster, Ohio, Scott Blower was hired as athletics and West Green grounds supervisor in February 2001 after many years as a private-business owner. Since his arrival, he has been in charge of the maintenance of the soccer field and says he felt the team deserved a top-flight playing surface.
"I feel privileged to work at Ohio University and I am grateful for the opportunity to make a career change," he said. "The people here, including the athletes and coaches, have been great so this was a way for me to show my appreciation. Since soccer is a new program, it didn't have a lot of alumni to turn to for support, so I decided to help."
The widening of the playing surface to the NCAA maximum allowable size will make the field more capable of hosting NCAA postseason games. "With the larger field, we will have an opportunity to adjust the dimensions of the field to better match our planned style of play against each opponent," Bobcat Soccer Coach Stacy Strauss said. "This renovation will place our field among the best in the Mid-American Conference."
Other facility changes included the grandstands being moved from the east side to the west side of the field and the scoreboard moving from the northwest corner to the northeast corner to increase visibility.
To honor the couples' gift, Ohio Athletics renamed the facility's playing surface Chessa Field, in honor of the Blowers' daughter. Ohio Athletics also named the new renovated area outside Peden Stadium Drew Park in honor of Scott and Crista's son.