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Transforming health sciences education from the ground up

For the last two years, DMU has been planning the medical and health sciences university of the future. The new campus, located on 88 acres in West Des Moines, will advance the educational transformation the University envisions.


  • An environment for new-age learning

    Flexible environments will allow for a mix of didactic, active-learning and small group work. Learning studios and laboratories will be technology-rich. Immersive simulated health care environments reflect those of modern care facilities, providing learners with a safe environment in which to practice patient care.

  • Bringing the DMU community together

    A diverse mix of open and enclosed collaboration spaces converge in the heart of the campus: an open, energizing learning commons and food service environment in which students, faculty and staff can connect, refresh and recharge.

  • A focus on health and wellbeing

    Wellness and recreation facilities allow students, faculty and staff to stay active and healthy. Trails and ponds provide opportunities for relaxation. The integrated student clinic provides access to care for students to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. A discreet and private student counseling suite ensures students have access to mental health care.

  • With room to grow

    The 88-acre site gives the University space and flexibility to respond to future needs in health care and health care education. The new campus also will enable DMU to interact with and serve community members in a welcoming, accessible setting.


In May of 2019, Des Moines University purchased property in West Des Moines as part of its effort to move the campus and accommodate necessary growth and innovation. The 88-acre parcel sits on the north side of W. Grand Avenue, located between S. Jordan Creek Parkway and South 88th Street. It is bounded on the north by Booneville Road.

DMU will celebrate its 125th Anniversary in 2023, the anticipated opening date for the new campus.

Project Background

"DMU is resetting its vision to remain a national, premiere medicine and health sciences university serving the community and the world,” said Angela L. Walker Franklin, Ph.D., President and CEO. “During this exploration, our entire campus community will be involved in the creative and strategic planning process that will ensure we create an exciting University environment that supports advanced medicine and health sciences education and research, as well as clinical services for residents of the region.”

“The DMU Board of Trustees unanimously endorses President Franklin’s leadership with the campus relocation and master planning process,” said Board of Trustees Chairman, Michael C. Witte, D.O.’77. “We are setting the stage for strategic growth of the University, and embracing the powerful, evolutionary trends in education and health care delivery. The current site on Grand Avenue simply cannot accommodate the plans we have for expansion of our curriculum, facilities, and clinical services.”

DMU is privileged to be working with a joint team of two exceptional specialists in higher education and health sciences facilities planning and design. RDG and GTG, both locally based, are facilitating our master planning process and will guide the architectural and engineering development for the new location.

History of the Land

The land that is home to the new campus was shaped by what is known to geologists as the “Edge of Advancement” of what was the Wisconsin Glacier. More than ten thousand years ago it moved south across North America shaping the land as it moved. Specifically, this parcel of land is the product of the Des Moines Lobe of that glacier. It came to rest at the center of this property and created the definition of a defining hill above the flat expanse of land. And though we don’t have the facts on record, it is important to recognize that this land was home to Native American peoples and other generations long ago who lived and farmed here. We can assume that they, no doubt, respected and valued the land. As we build our new university from the ground up, our campus community has been mindful of making respectful use of this property and to build with the highest standards of sustainability and ecological responsibility.

Beyond the land itself, however, this opportunity to expand our University is spurring us all to think differently, to think of new ways we can enhance our curriculum, explore new teaching methods, and expand our research and clinical services. This is an incredibly exciting time for DMU. We see this moment of advancement as a rare chance to be innovative, to grow and to forge new partnerships that will benefit our students, faculty, staff and the community at large.

Steering Committee

Angela L. Walker Franklin President and CEO Ralitsa Akins, M.D., Ph.D. Provost
Stephanie Greiner Chief Development Officer John Harris Director, Facilities Management
Mark Peiffer Senior Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Victoria Harper-Halverson Fiscal Operations Administrator
Joe Lang, RDG Jonathan Martin, RDG
Mike Houston, RDG Matt Brown, Formation Group
Steve Grasso, GTG (Phase 1) Site Preparation and Soil Project Manager
Des Moines University West Des Moines Campus

Latest photo

October 5, 2020

Media Mentions

Be a part of history

Help us shape the future of health care. A variety of gift options and naming opportunities will let you create and define a powerful legacy at the new DMU.

Timeline and milestones

DMU signs letter of intent to relocate its campus

March 11, 2019

Master planning process begins with faculty, staff, students

April 2019

DMU completes purchase of West Des Moines property

May 2019

Excavation begins

Spring 2020

Grand Avenue completed

Summer 2020

Groundbreaking and renderings reveal

September 2020

Media Kit

Download full-resolution photos and the press release in our media kit.

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