Des Moines Public Schools and Drake University Celebrate Opening of New Stadium

October 17, 2023
Landscape Architecture Sports

Designed by RDG, the new shared-use facility offers a first-class competitive playing field for middle school and high school sports and an on-campus home for university soccer teams.

Des Moines Public Schools, along with Drake University, celebrated the official opening of Mediacom Stadium, a new first-class community and sports venue that will serve as the home field for DMPS middle school and high school sports and an on-campus home for the Drake Bulldogs soccer teams. Members from the RDG Planning & Design team joined representatives from the district and university, students and local supporters for the ribbon-cutting celebration, which took place on Thursday, October 12, 2023.

“This beautiful stadium is a wonderful example of public-private partnership,” said Drake University Director of Athletics Brian Hardin. “With the assistance of RDG, we were able to create a facility that will positively impact the next generation of DMPS students and Drake soccer student-athletes.”

Located on the Drake University campus near the corner of Forest Avenue and 25th Street, RDG's design for this shared-use synthetic turf stadium transforms 4.5 acres of Drake-donated land into a 4,000-seat community stadium venue and provides needed space for DMPS and Drake teams. Mediacom Stadium also offers the broader Des Moines community a new place to hold sporting competitions (including high school and middle school football and middle school, high school and collegiate soccer) and community events. In total, five DMPS high schools and Drake University will share this centrally located stadium allowing both to maximize their capital investment.  

“While I may be new to Des Moines, I know what an important project this has been for both DMPS and Drake. And I am excited to see the result, which is the best facility of its kind for our students,” said DMPS Superintendent Dr. Ian Roberts. “Our institutions each had the need for a new stadium. Working together, we’ve been able to maximize limited resources to begin the development of Mediacom Stadium, a first-class facility for our students and our community.”

The $24 million stadium first broke ground in the spring of 2021 and is named in recognition of Mediacom Communications, a key funder for the project. The stadium is a major part of a multi-million-dollar, district-wide initiative to upgrade athletics facilities at all five high schools and one of the many significant developments for the Drake campus and throughout the Drake neighborhood. Along with DMPS and Drake students, businesses in and around the stadium are expected to benefit from the increased foot traffic. RDG provided architecture, landscape architecture, lighting design and interior design services in collaboration with a team of consultants.

"This new stadium is a testament to the collaborative spirit between Des Moines Public Schools, Drake University and the community at large,” said RDG Landscape Architect and Senior Partner Jason Blome, ASLA, PLA. “It embodies the aspirations and boundless potential of student-athletes, and we’re honored to have played a role in creating a place that will have a positive and lasting impact.”

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director