Support grows for Hawkeye-branded water tower

BY MOLLY BURKE | AUGUST 21, 2009 7:07 AM

Hawkeye fans pushing to see their favorite black and gold logo painted on the water tower near Kinnick Stadium will likely face barriers in making that a reality.

More than 5,000 people have signed the petition “Paint the Tower” since UI alumnus Derek Yoder created it at the end of July. Ideas for painting the structure range from a massive Tigerhawk to a smaller logo embedded in the words “Iowa City.”

Despite thousands of signatures, Yoder’s petition has to overcome a few obstacles, said UI spokesman Tom Moore.

The primary concern is cost, he said. The last time the tower was painted, in 2006, the project’s price tag was roughly $370,000 for a strictly white coat. Moore said he thought black and gold paint would cost significantly more.

In addition, the tower is repainted every 10 to 15 years, so petitioners are fighting for an early painting.

UI Hospitals and Clinics officials have also discussed moving the tower as a part of their expansion plans.

The tower is controlled by UI Facilities Management, but hospital and athletics officials are included in discussions regarding its future, Moore said.

“Very likely, the decision [to paint the tower] will be made jointly,” he said.

Despite the obstacles, Iowa City community members have reacted positively to the petition.

Yoder said most comments he has received about the petition have been completely supportive.

“Pretty much anything that gets another Tigerhawk up, people are for,”he said.

Yoder said he favors his original idea, with the Tigerhawk replacing the “o” in “Iowa City.”

“That way you get the town and the university and help incorporate more than just football,” he said.

Former UI student Dan Pilgrim, who now lives in Los Angeles, helped start a Facebook group in support of the petition.

The group — named “Paint the Tower” — now has nearly 4,000 members and has helped spread word, Pilgrim said in an e-mail.

“The petition is one of the first steps and needs as much support as it can get if we want to get this off the ground,” he wrote.

The idea has even caught the attention of some UI officials, including Athletics Director Gary Barta.

“I continue to support the concept, and I think it would look great,” he said.

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