Cost: $26.5 million
Dow Hall is a major part of the Dow Science Complex, which was opened for classes in August 1992. The $26.5 million Dow Science Complex project provided funds for the design and construction of a new science building, renovations to neighboring Brooks Hall, and $2.5 million in new science technology. $24 million was funded by the state, while the remaining $2.5 million was funded by the Dow Foundation. The complex was dedicated the Dow Science Complex in 1988, representing the first time a building on the campus of Central Michigan University was dedicated to a foundation rather than a former staff or faculty member.
Construction of the complex took place between 1988 and 1992. Funding problems erupted into controversy and debate, but by May 1992, the physics, chemistry, and geography departments began moving into the offices on the second and third floors. In August, classes began, although many students noted that the finishing touches remained to be completed. A large cardboard sign with the name of the building in marker greeted students at the door for months after classes began; a permanent sign did not go up until the end of the year. Students also remarked on the lack of permanent signs for the classrooms, which were labeled with temporary paper signs. This, combined with the building's unique layout, resulted in some minor confusion during the first few days of the semester.
No part of the construction of the complex was more controversial than the $70,000 sculpture that was installed as part of the new Dow building. Created by San Francisco artist Cork Marchescki, it was over 18 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and constructed of steel, aluminum, plastic, and neon tubing. After suffering two separate attacks by vandals, the sculpture was eventually moved in the spring of 1992 to the recently completed Student Activity Center.
In October 1992, the physics wing of the Dow Science Complex was renamed the Leon A. and Frances M. McDermott Physics Wing. When opened, the three-story wing featured three lecture rooms, a seminar room, a combination reading room and computer lab, and an area for student and faculty research.
In 2012, the CMU Board of Trustees approved a $1.5 million upgrade project designed to promote active learning within classrooms in the Dow Science Complex. Two ground-floor classrooms were to be equipped with "active learning technology" that would allow students to more easily communicate and collaborate with each other.