Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University plan to build a 4,000-seat, $19.5 million sports stadium next to Drake’s Shivers Basketball Practice Facility along Forest Avenue. 

The community stadium will be a venue for Des Moines high school and middle school football and soccer, and for Bulldog soccer teams. Other school and community sports events will be held there, too. The facility could open as early as 2021. 

The school district had long eyed a downtown stadium along Martin Luther King Parkway, perhaps in conjunction with the Des Moines Menace, but those plans never jelled and a separate proposal for a new professional soccer stadium and team in that area is getting mixed reviews. 

“Our students in Des Moines deserve school spaces – from classrooms to artistic venues to athletic facilities – that are as good as any place in Iowa. Today’s announcement is a big step in our ongoing work in realizing that goal,” said Des Moines schools Superintendent Thomas Ahart. 

“This community stadium will be a dramatic and exciting step forward for the city and for Drake,” said Marty Martin, president of Drake University. “As an anchor institution for Des Moines, we are thrilled by the idea of welcoming even more young people to our campus, just as we are doing with our newly opened Gregory and Suzie Glazer Burt Boys & Girls Club. This wonderful new stadium will be adjacent to the Burt club, and further demonstrate our commitment to transforming lives and strengthening our community.”

Backers of the project want to build a bubble over the stadium so it can be used year-round, if they can raise the money. 

The stadium is expected to be funded in part by Des Moines Public Schools through $15 million in sales tax revenue for the project. Drake University will donate the land for the stadium to the school district, as well as manage the stadium once it opens. Drake will also raise money for the project. 

The Des Moines School Board is expected to review the project in coming meetings.