DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University unveiled plans to build a new stadium east of Drake’s Shivers Basketball Practice Facility. The stadium would serve as a hub for the school districts middle and high school football and soccer teams, while also providing a home field for Drake’s soccer program.
“With five high schools, trying to attempt to have first rate facilities and having to make an investment at five different sites becomes a financial burden for the district,” said superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart. “This enables us to have one top rate facility and then it will also free up the existing spaces for additional need.”
Ahart also said in the last five years DMPS has had an increase of over 2,000 students participating in athletics. Therefore this new stadium frees up use at the existing facilities across the district for other sports practices and games.
The estimated price tag for the facility is $19.5 million, DMPS has budgeted for $15 million from tax revenue, while Drake will fundraise to make up the difference along with donating the land to the school district.
“We’ve been working on how to bring our soccer teams back to campus for some period of time,” said Drake President Marty Martin. “So, we’ve got supporters of the program that we know are willing to invest their dollars into this project .”
Although the stadium will be hosting multiple teams, the district is not worried about scheduling issues for several reasons.
“East will continue to use Williams as their home venue. Our other four high schools will be using this new stadium, but in the event that we have a conflict and we need to host two events at the stadium we will be able to use drake’s stadium,” said Ahart.
Beyond athletics, both Martin and Ahart are hoping this unique opportunity will help students plan for life beyond high school.
“The most exciting opportunity, I think for us is that we are going to have thousands of our students on a college campus on a regular basis… see themselves as taking concrete steps towards a future beyond high school,” said Ahart.
The stadium is projected to seat 4,000 fans and has an estimated opening date of summer 2021. Upon opening, Drake will take over the day to day operations of the facility while DMPS will remain in the ownership of the property.