Just eight years after the opening of Midland High School, Alden B. Dow began the design of his second high school for his growing hometown. Named in honor of his father, the site planning and design development phases for Herbert Henry Dow High School unfolded over the course of 1965. The specifications for a 275,000 square foot structure were released to bidders in November 1966. Collinson Construction Company of Midland was selected as general contractor for its bid of $3,977,000. Many other contracts were part of the overall project, from mechanical and electrical contractors to laboratory, furniture, and kitchen equipment vendors. Working drawings were revised and finalized in March 1967. Construction was completed in 1968.
The low profile building spreads out on a level site on the edge of a wooded area. Massive walls of brick set at varying depths and heights are intersected by cement stucco friezes that project over narrow bands of windows. Brick continues on the interior corridors, lobby, library, gymnasium, and theatre; concrete block is used for classroom walls. Situated at the axis of the building is the main academic area, the center of which is the library with its unique coffered ceiling. Classrooms for English and social studies are adjacent and feature folding walls to create flexible spaces for either large lectures or small seminars.
Extending to the north of the library is the science wing, which includes classrooms and lab spaces in addition to housing the Little Theatre. An L-shaped wing to the east features the cafeteria and administrative offices; a large area to the south is devoted to specially-equipped spaces for industrial arts, building trades, and art. The west wing contains the gymnasium, swimming pool, and band rooms.
Throughout his career, Mr. Dow designed more than 80 educational projects, H.H. Dow High School being one of 11 such projects in Midland.
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