Judge dismisses lawsuit intended to halt Des Moines stadium

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by several residents who had sought to stop plans by Des Moines Public Schools to build a new stadium on Drake University’s campus.

The lawsuit challenged the school district’s decision no to hold a special election vote on the plan before moving ahead with it. The judge agreed with the district that a petition effort by opposition group Save Our Stadiums failed to gather enough valid signatures to trigger a vote.

Last year, the school board approved an agreement with Drake University to build the nearly $20 million, 4,000-seat stadium. It will serve as the home football field for four of Des Moines’ five high schools and host high school and Drake soccer games.

The new stadium, which will be located more than two miles from the closest Des Moines high school, is expected to open by the fall of 2023.

An attorney for Save Our Stadiums, Gary Dickey, told the Des Moines Register that he plans to appeal the judge’s decision to the Iowa Supreme Court.

Opponents say the new stadium would create barriers for those who want to participate in high school athletics, hinder the community spirit built around home football games and threaten revenue for the schools’ booster clubs.