Campanile Renovation Update: Q&A with Mike Zwanziger

As the UNI Foundation seeks to raise the final $500,000 to complete the Campanile renovation project, Mike Zwanziger, ‘94, ‘01, director of UNI Facilities Management, discusses the progress on the project and previews what’s in store for Phase two.

1. Facilities Management has led many projects across the university, but the Campanile project would seem to be a unique undertaking. What has made this endeavor particularly meaningful? What have been the unique challenges associated with Phase 1 of the project? 

Mike: Obviously preserving such an iconic piece of UNI’s history brought special significance to the project, especially the timing around institutional milestones like the university's sesquicentennial and Campanile's centennial in 2026. Working on a historic structure is challenging enough without the added complexity of being in the middle of campus in a building that is considered the heart and soul of UNI.

2. What are the key improvements that will be made with Phase 2 of the project? Why is this phase so important to campus and to completing the Campanile renovations?

Mike: Updating the carillon and bell array was an immediate need as well as bringing the Campanile to current building and code standards to the extent possible. Basically we needed to fix what needed fixing and do no harm beyond that. 

For Phase 2, the plan is to update the landscaping and sidewalks/plaza to create a campus gathering space that can be used and appreciated by the next generation of Panthers. We’re grateful to the alumni and friends who supported this effort thus far, and we need additional resources to complete the project and truly showcase the Campanile for everyone to enjoy.

3. What is the timeline for the Campanile Plaza renovation? 

Mike: The timeline for the project is dependent on fundraising. The UNI Foundation hopes individuals will give to close out the remaining fundraising – approximately $500,000 – by early 2024 in time to begin the project in the summer. Our intention is for the Campanile Plaza to be a vibrant setting for the 2026 celebrations. 

4. Every Panther has a Campanile memory. Can you share yours?

Mike: While I have many fond memories from my days as a student at UNI, one that stands out for me is more recent. It was the first time I walked by the Campanile after being named the Director of Facilities Management at UNI and realizing that it was now my responsibility to maintain such an irreplaceable part of our history. It is a stewardship that I, along with the rest of the Facilities department, take very seriously. 

UNI Campanile Plaza conceptual rendering from above

UNI Campanile Plaza perspective conceptual rendering at the University of Northern Iowa