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UND replaces interlocking ND logo with Fighting Hawk symbol

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Jack Jacobson, left, of Indigo Signworks holds guide cables while Charles Greywind lowers a sign featuring the interlocking ND football helmet to the ground at the Alerus Center. Indigo Signworks removed the old sign Monday and installed the new Fighting Hawks helmet sign Tuesday morning. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)2 / 3
Charles Greywind, left, and Kyle Hoselton of Indigo Signworks disconnect the framework of the interlocking ND football helmet sign hanging on the south end of the Alerus Center Tuesday afternoon. (Jesse Trelstad/Grand Forks Herald)3 / 3

Call it a facelift—or maybe a new beginning—but months after the UND Fighting Hawks nickname and logo were first unveiled, the hawk is now fully taking its place as the symbol of the school's athletics.

Since its June 22 reveal, the hawk has been taking the place of the interlocking ND logo, which served as a primary symbol after the university stopped using the Fighting Sioux image. Much of the remaining changeover included, most visibly, the replacement of signage on the UND Athletics High Performance Center practice field and the Alerus Center.

That swap-out, as well as the establishment of the hawk elsewhere on campus, is being carried out this week as students are out of class on spring break.

"We're going to have the students come back to a little bit different-looking environment," said UND spokesman Peter Johnson.

The sign at the Alerus Center, which featured a UND football helmet stamped with the interlocking ND, will keep the helmet theme while changing out the symbol. The High Performance Center featured logos on both the north and south side of the facility, both of which have been updated to the Fighting Hawk.

The major pieces were contracted in January to Grand Forks-based Indigo Signworks, said Indigo sales representative Nick Cox, who said installation finished Tuesday at the practice field and is expected to be concluded today at the Alerus Center. Both signs are illuminated with LED lights and should be "nice and bright," Cox said.

"It looks really good, we're really happy with it," he said.

Tuesday night marked the first time the new signs were lit at the High Performance Center.

Cox said the signs at that facility were installed when the center was built two years ago. The helmet sign at the Alerus Center was at least eight years old, he said, and had "definitely seen some age and wearing on it."

Johnson said the new helmet cost UND about $40,000. He said the updated signs at the High Performance Center ran at approximately $35,000. Beyond the athletics facilities, Johnson said the hawk logo will be planted elsewhere at high-visibility campus locations.

Johnson wrote in an email the highest cost for the swap beyond the major signage is a $2,000 remodel of the outside of the student ticket office area in Memorial Union—though he added that doesn't take uniform changes into account, which "will be changed out as needed" and wasn't sure of the total cost of the rebranding push.

Other campus areas to be stamped with the logo include the pedestrian walkways over Columbia Road and University Avenue, Johnson said, as well as the windows of Wilkerson Commons.

He added there's also a mural in the union, which is set to be redone as part of the overhaul.

"We're trying to put some energy behind the new (logo) so when students come back, they'll see that Fighting Hawk everywhere," Johnson said.

The interlocking ND, which resembles the symbol used by Notre Dame University, will still be featured in the Dacotah Legacy merchandise collection. Other than that, the lettering has officially been put aside. Before this week, the hawk had already replaced the other logo on the wall of the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center.

Johnson wrote the university is also preparing to launch a social media push featuring the Fighting Hawk in the leadup to the school's first-ever appearance in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.

"The enhanced launch of the logo and the associated social media campaign reflect the importance of having an actively embraced logo—which is essential for recruiting and fundraising," Johnson wrote. "Having two competing logos is not helpful, particularly when one of the images is easily confused with another university in our NCAA bracket."

Andrew Haffner

Andrew Haffner covers higher education and general assignment stories for the Grand Forks Herald. He attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he studied journalism, political science and international studies. He previously worked at the Dickinson Press.

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