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MEGA STADIUM: DMPS Proposes City Wide Venue

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It's in its early stages but the Des Moines public school district says it wants to turn 40 acres of land near downtown into a city wide athletic stadium.

Roosevelt High School senior, Nick Biancalana says, “It would be nicer to have a home - like atmosphere for our football games.”

Of the five Des Moines public schools, Roosevelt is the only school without a football field but soon that could change. The former Dico Inc. manufacturing plant south of downtown has sat empty for nearly 20 years but Des Moines Public Schools spokesperson, Phil Roeder, says it’s time somebody does something with it.

“It’s time and I think a lot of people from Des Moines would argue its past time that something needs to be done with this site.”

The district spends upwards of 30 million dollars each year on its facilities. The plan to build a football, soccer and track mega stadium, not only for Roosevelt but for all schools district wide, is what Roeder claims helps make up a successful district.

“If a student stays in school whether they like chemistry or soccer, they`re graduating and for us that`s the bottom line.”

A former school board member and current Roosevelt parent says the district needs to stop competing with suburban schools.

“Just because the guy next door has a bigger house, doesn`t need you need to have a bigger one. We need to look at what our needs in the district are first then decide what’s best from an educational standpoint for our kids,” says Graham Gillette.

However, some students like Biancalana, say their success not only comes in the classroom but also on the field.

“It’s definitely helpful to have nice facilities to get the best chance we can to better ourselves.”

The district says they are also working with the Des Moines partnership to potentially use the space for concerts and other public sporting events. If the project goes through, they would start construction in the next couple of years.


  • Troy Hendrickson

    Good idea, just as soon as the owners of the property pay for 100% of the cleanup costs and that work is done, then the district can figure out how to pay for the new stadium without stealing peoples money from outside Des Moines.

  • Mike Cee

    Des Moines Schools are some of the poorest achieving schools by most measures of state scholastic rankings, yet the administration wants to spend money it doesn’t have to build a sports complex?

    Maybe the administration should look at ways to improve students scholastic aptitude first. Then once you actually get the scholastic basics right, consider fluff projects such as this.

    Or maybe the Des Moines Schools administration needs to attend a high school class (not in a Des Moines school) in basic finance.

  • Sally

    Actually, having kids in sports can be beneficial to their grades.
    They can’t play if they don’t have adequate grades. That gives kids another incentive to keep their grades up.

    The kids know if they get caught smoking, drinking, using drugs, etc, they are off the team. Sober, clean kids tend to get better grades.

    Practices take up a lot to time…time that might otherwise be spent partying or causing trouble.

    For some kids, a coach is the closest thing to a parental figure they have in their lives. Someone who notices, and is proud of, their hard work. Even if they never get off the scrum team for football, if they work hard, a good coach will notice that and encourage that kid.

    A child who is proud of their school, and proud to be a part of it is more likely to attend and try to do well.

    Kids tend to hang out with other kids with similar interests. If athletes are hanging out together, hopefully they are more likely to make good choices because they don’t want to get cut off the team. They know they need to eat better, they can’t smoke, drink, do drugs. They need to be home at a reasonable time.

    So, yes, I agree that academics are the most important thing our children need to get out of school. I think athletics, if done right, can actually help with that. and a nice facility that kids are proud to represent certainly doesn’t hurt.

    And yes, I speak from personal experience. After my sister’s divorce, my nephew was failing school and getting into trouble with the police. My sister, as a last ditch effort, got him involved with the city baseball team (similar to Little League) and from there, onto the high school team when he could go. He never became a straight A student, but, he graduated, is married with 3 beautiful little boys and owns his own business now.

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