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WDMCS Board Explores Options for Facilities, Impacting All Schools

The West Des Moines Community Schools (WDMCS) Board of Education held a workshop on July 9 to discuss the Master Facilities Plan. Board workshops are designed for members to ask questions and provide feedback without formal Board action taking place. This allows a venue for Board members to explore important topics such as facilities planning in an open meeting setting. Administrators are present, and all workshops are open to the public.

The July 9 presentation was based on feedback from multiple WDMCS meetings with students, staff, families, and the community throughout the spring semester. Administration worked with Shive-Hattery Architecture and Engineering and BrainSpaces, Inc. to draft initial recommendations, knowing conversation and Board feedback would help refine and develop a direction for next steps.

The facilities presentation covered multiple topics with the knowledge of how each impacts one another. These included:

  • Renovations at all eight elementary buildings to accommodate a PreK-fifth grade model.
  • Necessary remodeling or development of new facilities to accommodate grades 6-8 middle schools.
  • A new high school Innovation and Career Center on the current Valley High School campus instead of the current Valley Southwoods Freshman High School campus.
  • Relocating athletic softball and baseball fields near Valley Stadium, creating an expanded athletic campus. Tiger Field would remain at Valley High School.

Because the Valley Southwoods building would be vacated, much conversation at the workshop centered on the optimal location for Stilwell based on physical space needed with the addition of sixth grade. The Board was supportive of keeping a school on the Stilwell campus and directed administration to look into adding a third middle school, maintaining one at Indian Hills, one at Stilwell, and adding a third on the Valley Southwoods campus. Because this is a new possibility, administration will work with Shive-Hattery and BrainSpaces, Inc. to determine both infrastructure and operating costs to have three WDMCS middle schools.

The Board also asked administration to look into how WDMCS ensures Walnut Creek Campus students have access to programming at the Innovation Center and Valley High School. Board members asked administration to research the possibility of integrating the Walnut Creek Campus within the Innovation Center to provide equity in accessibility and opportunities for all students.

WDMCS will develop additional options based on all of the Board’s requests. Updated information will be posted on http://masterplan.wdmcs.org.