DES MOINES, Iowa – Community Members gather for last public forum on the proposed new athletic stadium between Drake University and Des Moines Public Schools.
If passed by both boards it will be built on Drake’s campus off of 24th and 25th street along Forest Avenue.
Drake University Athletics Director Brian Hardin said, “The location of Drake is fairly centrally located in comparison to the four high schools that will primarily use it for football.”
The estimated $19 million stadium would come from both schools. DMPS would pay $15 million through the Secure an Advanced Vision For Education Tax, previously known as the Local Option Sales Tax.
DMPS Superintendent Dr. Tom Ahart said the funding is meant for education infrastructures.
“We have four stadiums at our five high schools and one high school that does not have a stadium that we are currently paying around $25,000 a year for the use of the stadium,” Ahart said.
Des Moines Resident Beth Walling is concerned the money isn’t being spent well.
“I think that it is an irresponsible spending of money for where we are right now. Where many schools are being over populated. We have students that are in classrooms that are serving 30 and 35 students where a new school needs to be built versus a new football stadium,” Walling said.
Ahart said plans for a new school are on hold for many reasons, including low state aid.
"We could have gone and built the school. The dollars existed for that cost, what we were having more of a challenge with is how do we appropriately staff and train the teachers for that new school,” Ahart said.
If passed, Drake would provide the land and an additional $4.5 million for construction.
The stadium would be utilized by both DMPS and Drake students for soccer and football games.
DMPS plans to take the information gathered at the public forums and present it to the school board later in January. If passed construction would begin spring of 2020 and open in the fall of 2021.