DMPS, Drake Celebrate Partnership in Stadium Groundbreaking

For more than a century, Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University have partnered in ways big and small to support the education of students in Iowa’s capital city. Today that partnership took another step forward as the two educational institutions broke ground together on the DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University.

“This is a win for DMPS and Drake University student-athletes,” said superintendent Dr. Thomas Ahart. “The stadium is a ​much-needed addition to our school district. It’s a place where all DMPS student-athletes can experience the same opportunities already afforded to more affluent school districts. I am proud to have played a role in moving this project toward completion, to be part of leveling the playing field for our students.”

First proposed in November 2019, this 4,000-seat venue will be used by Des Moines high school football and soccer programs, additional high school activities ranging from marching band festivals to rugby matches, as well as middle school activities. The stadium is a major part of a multi-million-dollar, district-wide initiative to upgrade athletics facilities at all five high schools.

The field will also be the new on-campus home for the Drake Bulldogs men’s and women’s NCAA Division I soccer teams.

“This is an exciting time for Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University to begin a new era in Des Moines athletics,” said DMPS Board Chair Dwana Bradley. “While we work on improving athletic facilities at all of our high schools, we are also creating something for our students and families to be proud of right here in the heart of our city—a first-class athletic experience equal to that in any school district in the state.”

Construction on the stadium will begin this spring with projected completion in the fall of 2023, in time to light up for the start of the high school football season. Along with DMPS and Drake students, businesses in and around the stadium are expected to benefit from the increased foot traffic, especially stores and restaurants.

“This project, along with other new resources such as the Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club and a new Broadlawns clinic, are all ways in which Drake University is fulfilling its duty as an anchor institution for Des Moines,” said Drake University President Marty Martin. “We are proud to partner with Des Moines Public Schools to serve and provide more opportunities to the young people in our community.”

Funding for the stadium will include approximately $16 million from Des Moines Public Schools, using sales tax revenue earmarked specifically for infrastructure projects. Drake University is fundraising for the remaining costs of the project and has donated land for the stadium to the school district. In addition, Drake will manage the stadium once it opens, a cost savings to DMPS.

“For years, the Drake Bulldogs have taken great pride in serving as Des Moines’ hometown team,” said Brian Hardin, director of athletics for Drake University. “I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate this long-standing commitment than investing in the young student-athletes of our community.”

RDG Planning + Design is the architect of the stadium and Story Construction is the construction manager.

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Groundbreaking Kickoff