DMPS to Study District’s Athletic Facilities Needs
Public Hearing Scheduled for Proposed Community Stadium
As Des Moines Public Schools continues to develop a partnership with Drake University for a new Community Stadium, the school district is also beginning a formal process to review all of its athletic facility needs.
The DMPS Board of Directors is taking two significant steps in this process at its Tuesday, May 5 meeting. The first is to schedule a public hearing for May 19 on the proposed DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University. The second is to establish the DMPS Athletic Facility Committee.
“Our school district is home to thousands of students who participate in athletics, and we need to do more to make sure they have access to quality facilities while maximizing our limited resources in public education,” said Kyrstin Delagardelle, chair of the School Board. “This process will enable the School Board to get meaningful input from a wide range of stakeholders so we can make plans to best serve our students and community.”
The DMPS Athletic Facilities Committee (AFC) will be an ad-hoc, time-limited committee of the Des Moines Public Schools Board of Directors established to provide guidance and recommendations for investments in athletic facilities to address current and future needs. The AFC shall focus on the athletic facility needs of each high school and the feeder middle schools in order to develop a five-year plan for strategic improvements to support high-quality facilities responsive to student participation needs, district-wide equity, efficient use of our limited district resources and stewardship of our public dollars. Supported by a professional facilitator and district staff, the AFC will have access to the required information to advance to the Board a recommended prioritized list of investments in athletic facilities.
The committee will be comprised of staff, student and parent representation from each of the five comprehensive high schools, community representatives appointed by the School Board, and representatives from the Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department and the Taxpayer Association of Central Iowa.
The AFC will review current and future needs at the district’s high and middle schools, including how those needs are or are not being addressed in the district’s facilities plan. In addition, the committee will look at other community projects that may provide for shared opportunities. Finally, the committee will develop recommendations for improvements to be made based on their research, and current and projected resources available to meet those needs.
The AFC will submit a report to the School Board next October.
“As Superintendent, I will never apologize for wanting the best for our students,” added Dr. Thomas Ahart, superintendent of Des Moines Public Schools. “This process will get us there in an area that is important to many of our students but that we have put on the back burner as we made important investments in our academic infrastructure.”