About Smouse Opportunity Center

Smouse The DMPS Smouse Opportunity Center was originally built as a school for the disabled. A gift to the community from Dr. David Smouse and his wife, Amanda, the school opened on March 5, 1931.

Students with physical disabilities found a school with a range of facilities and equipment adaptable to their individual needs, including a resting room, hydrotherapy tank, sun and infrared lamps, tilted blackboards to prevent glare for the visually impaired, and rooms designed to carry vibrations for hearing impaired students.

The school was built with many interesting architectural features, including three courtyards, a fountain, a rooftop playground, working fireplaces, as well as many artistic works, including paintings and prints, ceramic tiles, and wrought iron fixtures. It was designed to look like an English castle with some of the items imported from England.  The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October of 2002.

In 2018, Smouse students were moved to the newer, neighboring Ruby Van Meter after $7.6 million in renovations made the facility an updated, modern environment serving all ages of students and types of disabilities. Smouse Opportunity Center was transformed into a modern professional learning center for DMPS staff who work throughout the school district with students with disabilities. Students from Ruby Van Meter still visit the building occasionally to learn entrepreneurial skills running a standup coffee shop in the atrium.

IMG 3554