In a historic move, Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) and Drake University have unveiled plans to develop a new athletic stadium in the heart of Iowa’s capital city. Located along Forest Avenue on the Drake campus, the new stadium will serve as the venue for DMPS high school and middle school football and soccer, as well as provide an on-campus home field for the Bulldogs soccer teams, in addition to other school and community athletic uses.
“Our students in Des Moines deserve school spaces – from classrooms to artistic venues to athletic facilities – that are as good as any place in Iowa. Today’s announcement is a big step in our on-going work in realizing that goal,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools at the project's announcement. “Building on our historic relationship with Drake, this partnership is an efficient way to develop an exciting venue that will serve thousands of students each year, from our middle school activities and high school sports on through to college athletics.”
“This community stadium will be a dramatic and exciting step forward for the city and for Drake,” said Marty Martin, president of Drake University. “As an anchor institution for Des Moines, we are thrilled by the idea of welcoming even more young people to our campus, just as we are doing with our newly opened Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club. This wonderful new stadium will be adjacent to the Burt club, and further demonstrate our commitment to transforming lives and strengthening our community.”
Preliminary plans call for a seating capacity of 4,000 in the stadium, to be located immediately to the east of Drake’s Shivers Basketball Practice Facility. The stadium is being configured to host football and soccer games. In addition, contingent upon fundraising, the stadium can accommodate a bubble to activate the facility during the winter months.
“The Drake Bulldogs are proud to be Des Moines’ hometown team,” said Brian Hardin, director of athletics for Drake University. “This new stadium will give our soccer programs a true home field advantage, and so it is a win not only for the Des Moines community, but also for our dedicated Drake student-athletes and fans.”
Construction costs for the new stadium are estimated to total $19.5 million. It will be funded in part by Des Moines Public Schools, which has budgeted $15 million in sales tax revenue for the project. Drake University will donate the land for the stadium to the school district, as well as manage the stadium once it opens. Drake will also be conducting a fundraising effort in support of the stadium.
The Des Moines School Board will be taking action on the project at its upcoming meetings. Preliminary plans call for the stadium to open by the summer of 2021.
For more information on the project, including images, visit stadium.dmschools.org.