Des Moines school board votes for new strategy in hopes of opening proposed stadium by 2023

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Des Moines Public Schools is calling an audible to get its plans for a community football and soccer stadium across the goal line.

The Des Moines school board voted Tuesday on a new approach to solicit construction bids for the stadium, which would be the new home for four of Des Moines’ five high school football teams and is expected to cost $19.5 million to build.

The plans for the 4,000-seat stadium had been delayed in 2021 due to COVID-related construction cost increases. The new approach allows construction companies to bid on smaller segments of the stadium and not necessarily the entire project at once.

Des Moines Public Schools believes construction could start this March and the stadium’s first events could come in 2023.

The school board will hold a final vote on the new proposal, which is detailed in this slideshow presentation, during their January 19 meeting.

If it is built, the stadium will rise on Forest Avenue next to Drake University’s basketball arena, the Knapp Center. The project is a collaboration between Drake and Des Moines Public Schools; DMPS is paying for the first $15 million of the community stadium and Drake will pay for the rest of it.

The stadium would house the football and soccer teams of Roosevelt, Hoover, Lincoln, and North high schools. East High School would remain in its agreement to share their field with Grand View University.

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