Des Moines University Holds Groundbreaking for New Campus

September 10, 2020
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Leading on “The Edge of Advancement.”

Des Moines University held its public groundbreaking event today to commemorate the start of construction of its new campus on 88 acres in West Des Moines. The address is 8025 Grand Avenue.

In a public gathering at the new property, University President and Chief Executive Officer Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., presided over a ceremony recognizing the beginning of construction on the site. She unveiled detailed renderings of the new campus buildings and grounds. Visit to access the digital newsroom and all images and project timeline.

Des Moines Medical and Health Sciences Campus

“Today, we celebrate the strong future of growth and innovation for DMU and commemorate the beginning of this new chapter in the evolution of our University,” said President Franklin. “During the last 18 months we have been working fast and creatively through the campus master planning and design process. Our future has never been stronger and more promising.”

DMU is proud to recognize its partners in this venture: RDG Planning & Design is the design firm; Turner Construction is the general contractor; and Formation Group is the University’s representative.

Throughout the extensive planning activity, DMU has remained committed to an ambitious timeline that has the University scheduled to occupy the new campus in 2023 — that year also marks the 125th anniversary of Des Moines University.

“This move is made more exciting by the expansion and enhancements we recognize within the City of West Des Moines and its commitment to providing the finest quality of life for its citizens, businesses and organizations,” she said.

Special Story of the Land

The University made several fascinating discoveries when researching the history of the land that revealed interesting facts about it.

Much of the land is flat but gives rise to a hill in the north section. That hillside is what is known to geologists as the “edge of advancement” of what was the Wisconsin Glacier. More than 10,000 years ago it moved south across North America shaping the land as it inched forward.  Specifically, this parcel of land is the product of the Des Moines Lobe of the glacier. It came to rest at the center of this property and created the definition of the hill over the flat expanse of land. 

“As we build our new university from the ground up, I promise you that from the first days, all of us involved in this project have been mindful of making respectful use of this property and to build with the highest standards of sustainability and ecological responsibility,” Franklin added.  

In partnership with RDG Planning & Design, DMU will build its new campus with distinct and compelling architecture, design and landscaping. “We want to be a premier destination for our students, faculty, staff and friends of DMU, especially for our new home community of West Des Moines,” she said.

Seizing New Opportunities

Beyond the land itself, this opportunity to build a new campus for the University is spurring members of the DMU community to think differently, to explore new ways to enhance curriculum, explore new teaching methods and expand research activity and clinical services. This moment of advancement is a rare chance to be innovative, to grow and to forge new partnerships that will benefit students, faculty, staff and the community at large.


About Des Moines University

Des Moines University is the only private medical school in Iowa, offering graduate-level professional degree programs in osteopathic medicine, podiatric medicine, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, health care administration, anatomy, biomedical sciences and public health. Founded in 1898, the institution offers superior academics in a collaborative environment. DMU students’ pass rates on national examinations and board certifications are consistently higher than national averages and rates at peer institutions.

Written by Erin Van Zee, Communications Director