University of Iowa wants to erect 'gateway monuments' across campus

Structures would 'welcome guests to the university'

Diagram of one of the proposed granite columns. (Submitted photo)
Diagram of one of the proposed granite columns. (Submitted photo)

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa wants to erect granite monuments at various “gateway” locations across campus, and it’s looking to hire a supplier to create and install the 13-foot structures.

On Tuesday the university issued a public call for proposals from suppliers interested in delivering on designs for the proposed monuments, which include a tall granite column emblazoned with an official University of Iowa bronze seal and topped with an 18-inch granite world globe.

“The Gateway Project requires the supplier to fabricate, provide, store, deliver and install a series of granite monuments with a bronze seal at various locations around campus to welcome guests to the university,” according to the request for proposals, which are due back by April 25.

The request for proposals doesn’t specify how many monuments the university wants to erect, or where on campus. It also doesn’t project an anticipated cost or time frame, or who would pay for the project.

The monument designs go into detail about what kind of granite to use — Barre Gray, topaz gray or an equivalent with minimal speckling. The bronze UI seal should be two-toned, and the world globe should have North America front-facing, according to the documents.

University of Iowa granite drawings by Gazetteonline on Scribd

The word “IOWA” in bronze lettering should adorn the granite base.

The structures should be built with “vandal-resistant construction materials, methods, and equipment,” according to the request for proposals.

“Supplier shall apply anti-graffiti coating to monument,” according to the document, although “anti-graffiti coating shall not change the appearance.”

A UI committee will evaluate proposals and recommend an award.


The university in recent years has employed a range of promotional and welcoming initiatives across the Iowa City campus. This winter, for the second time, it featured undergraduate and graduate researchers on large banners throughout downtown, highlighting their work and daring onlookers to “create, cure, explore, imagine, discover.”

The “Dare to Discover” campaign aimed to “put a face to the countless groundbreaking discoveries, innovations, and creative works generated by researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa,” according to the UI Office of the Vice President for Research. UI recently has intentionally slowed enrollment in hopes of right-sizing its campus and coalescing around its mission to support student success and world-renowned research, despite state funding cuts.

Lawmakers in recent years have slashed appropriations, forcing the university to increase tuition rates for all students, close some campus centers, eliminate some non-need-based scholarship programs, and freeze faculty pay for a period. The university also halted new campus construction for a five-month period last year.

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