The beloved UNI-Dome almost went by a completely different name.

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I can't take all of the credit for finding this interesting bit of Cedar Valley history. Our intern Nick who just so happens to go to the University of Northern Iowa was able to dig this up from the special collection at the UNI library.

The UNI-Dome has been a fixture at the school for more than four decades. Talks of building a sports center for the university began in 1968. College officials wanted to model a Cedar Falls domed facility after Idaho State's Holt Arena.

Several years later, in 1972 the school's Board of Regents voted to erect this domed coliseum.

Google Maps
Google Maps

Before the completion and dedication of the dome in 1975, there were talks as to what this huge facility should be called. According to the University of Northern Iowa's library, one popular option was to name it after a controversial former president.

Kerri Mac/Google Images
Kerri Mac/Google Images

According to these archives, there was a movement to name the Dome after recently disgraced U.S. President Richard Nixon. In February of 1975, the Coalition of People Involved, a student-run group, attempted to petition the college to name the new facility after the politician (who had just left office following the Watergate scandal).

If things went their way the UNI-Dome would have been known as the Richard M. Nixon Memorial Coliseum.

Odd since while his career was dead, he was still kicking...

Ken Mayer // flickr

Apparently, someone ended up stealing these petitions! One of the members of the group accused the local Young Democrats of being behind this signature snatching.

The student claimed he overheard a member of the opposing group making comments at his signature table that he wanted, "to stop construction of the Dome and take the remainder of the money for a performing arts center. Education seems to be taking a second place at UNI."

Could this whole thing just have been a joke? College kids trying to pull a prank over their university? Unheard of!

A year later, the very first event took place at the UNI-Dome. It was a wrestling competition between UNI and the University of Iowa.

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