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.