The Des Moines School Board voted Thursday night to accept bids for the construction of the DMPS Community Stadium at Drake University.
In 2020, the school board approved an agreement between Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University to build a 4,000-seat stadium east of the Knapp Center. The community stadium will be used for home football games for four out of the five district high schools, as well as soccer games and other activities for both the high schools and Drake.
“The new stadium is one step of many that we are taking to upgrade DMPS athletic facilities for our students and the community,” Des Moines School Board chair Dwana Bradley said in a press release Thursday. “When completed the stadium will provide our students with the first-class facility they deserve and a venue as good as any of its kind in Iowa.”
The original budget for the community stadium was $19.5 million, with DMPS providing $15 million from revenue dedicated to facilities and Drake providing $4.5 million.
The school board had rejected two previous bids that came in over budget, as the cost of materials increased during the pandemic. The bid accepted Thursday came in $1 million over the original budget and DMPS will make up the difference with unallocated funds, according to the press release.
“The new stadium is an exciting and much-needed project that is a beginning, not an end, in our work to improve venues for our student-athletes,” school board vice chair Teree Caldwell-Johnson said in the press release. “Since the sales tax for school facilities was first established our focus has been on our school buildings, especially academics and the arts. Now it’s time to give more attention to other activities and athletics.”
The community stadium is set to open in the fall of 2023. A groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled soon.