District Selling Building, Moving Staff to Absorb Funding Cuts

Man works on DMPS sign outside of brick building

DMPS will sell the building located at 2323 Grand Avenue later this Fall.

Des Moines Public Schools, Iowa’s largest provider of public education, is in the process of moving hundreds of students and staff to new locations. It is part of an ongoing effort to offset several years of inadequate state funding.

The first domino fell with the consolidation of Lincoln Rails and Lincoln High School, the last will fall with the sale of an administration building at 2323 Grand Avenue later this year.

“We’re trying to keep disruption to a minimum while providing the best possible learning spaces for students,” Chief of Operations Bill Good said. “It’s hard on our staff to move, but we all remain committed to doing whatever is needed in the interests of our students.”

As was announced in April, Lincoln High School will once again be a 9-12 school, as the 9th grade class will no longer attend classes at the Lincoln RAILS Academy. The RAILS Academy, located in the former Kurtz Junior High School at 1000 Porter Avenue, is being renovated to make room for most of the district’s student services currently housed at 2100 Fleur Drive.

In addition, the school district’s human resources and financial services staff will move from Grand Avenue to the district’s office building at 2100 Fleur. Other staff will transfer to the Walnut Street School building or the former Smouse Opportunity School, which consolidated most students into Ruby Van Meter School last year.

“While we continue to work to make headway at the Iowa Capitol, such as greater support for our more marginalized students, the lack of willingness by the state to adequately increase overall public education funding is forcing cuts, and should be of concern to every family in Iowa,” said Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools.

Visiting DMPS will look a little different this fall. Contact phone numbers will mostly remain the same, but the address of some services accessed by students and families will change. The following is an overview of the moves taking place over the next few months:

Moving to Kurtz Building, 1000 Porter Avenue

  • Welcome Center (moving Oct. 1)
  • Center for New Americans
  • DMPS Virtual Campus
  • Assessment, Data and Evaluation
  • English Language Learning
  • Community Schools (including Metro Kids Care and Community Partnerships)
  • Climate and Culture
  • Options Academy
  • Student Activities

Moving to 2100 Fleur Drive

  • Human Resources (moving later this Fall)
  • Financial Services

Moving to Smouse, 2820 Center Street

  • Special Education
  • Health Services

Moving to Walnut Street School building, 901 Walnut Street

  • Gifted and Advanced Learning

The Grand Avenue building will be placed on the market later this Fall once all of the staff moves are completed.