A first-class competitive multi-use sports field that serves as the home for Division I soccer and high school football and soccer within the Athletic District of Drake University Athletics.
Faced with aging facilities that no longer met the expectations of accessibility, technology or the fan/player experience, over the past decade Des Moines Public Schools (DMPS) and Drake began concurrently exploring options to offer updated spaces that could support competitive soccer and football teams. The two institutions have a long history of partnership, and in 2019, announced plans to develop a new shared multi-use athletic stadium, selecting RDG Planning & Design to collaborate on a facility that would address the needs of outdoor athletics for DMPS and Drake University soccer.
The $24 million stadium broke ground in the spring of 2021 and was officially completed in the fall of 2023. Now known as Mediacom Stadium, the facility is a major part of a multi-million-dollar, district-wide initiative to upgrade athletics facilities at DMPS high schools and one of the many significant developments for the Drake campus and throughout the Drake neighborhood. 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. The facility plays host to 40+ soccer and football teams from middle school to division 1 collegiate levels, allowing DMPS and Drake to hold events throughout the week and year with very little downtime. In total, five DMPS high schools and Drake University share this centrally located stadium, allowing both to maximize their capital investment.
The site was previously developed as a parking lot and dry-cleaning business on the edge of Drake's campus and is bordered on three sides by existing city streets and Drake's basketball training facility to the west. These site constraints required RDG to leverage every possible square foot. A natural slope of the site provided an opportunity to locate the field in a natural bowl, with spectators entering from the south at an elevation approximately 15' above field level for easy ADA access and great views. Athletes and staff access the stadium at field level on the site's north side. Likewise, RDG's design incorporates hydraulically hinged football goalposts that can be rotated 180 degrees or taken down completely to accommodate soccer matches and tournaments, or other large events.
Mediacom Stadium 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. Along with DMPS and Drake students, businesses in and around the stadium are expected to benefit from the increased foot traffic, resulting in a place that will have a positive and lasting impact.