The H.H. Dow Leadership Academy is an executive training facility and conference center created within an existing hotel structure in Midland, Michigan. Acquestserved as development manager and asset manager for this project, and David Greusel of Convergence Design led the design team. The project was for the Dow Chemical Company, a worldwide manufacturer of chemicals and building products, which wanted a state-of-the-art center for executive learning near their Midland headquarters.
The project faced several challenges, not least of which was locating the 20,000 square foot Academy within the footprint of an existing hotel. Structural modifications were limited to the removal of one internal column needed to create the proper arrangement and flow of spaces.Another challenge ofthe project was replacing hotel amenities displaced by the Academy. The solution created a new structure along Main Street to improve the relationship of the hotel tothe city. These buildings contain a European café, a popular bar, and a ͞five- star͟ restaurant, all of which are amenities for the city as well as the Academy. They create a new streetscape compatible with the low-scale structures lining Main Street.The Academy consists of high-tech meeting and breakout rooms, lounges and break areas, an executive dining room, private rooms for C-level executives, a business center and fitness center.
The objective was to create an all-inclusive meeting, dining and recreational facility that allows transformational learning for executives from around the world.The biggest problem facing this project was creating the Leadership Academy with the hotel in continuous operation during construction. This was accomplished by careful phasing of the new construction to keep key pathways of the hotel open to guests, and by avoiding any nighttime construction activity.