When Dana Corporation, a supplier of vehicle componentry with a long history of technological innovation, decided to build a new research and development center, there was little doubt that the company would commit to a high-end, state-of-the-art facility.

An image of laboratories and technicians in white chemist's coats might come to mind. But it's important to note that Dana's 100- year reputation has been built in the manufacture of heavy automotive hardware, such as axles and drivetrains.

So its new R & D facility in Maumee, Ohio, which is now nearing completion just outside of Toledo where the company is headquartered, would require two key characteristics. First, it would require a state-of-the-art appearance befitting a technological center for an industry leader. Second, that appearance would have to endure some heavy-duty treatment.

"This will actually be a very abusive environment," says Wayne Burrer, project manager for the construction of the facility which is scheduled to be operational in the first quarter of 2004. "They'll be moving heavy parts across these floors, but they'll be doing so in a showroom quality environment. And we require that environment to stay that way."

Recognizing the benefits of single-sourcing, Dana partnered with Lakeside Interior Contractors, Inc., a Maumee contractor that has carved a niche by its diversity. Their expertise on this project meant that the versatile contractor would take on the tasks of metal stud installation, drywall, carpentry, acoustical ceilings, insulation, fireproofing, flooring and painting.

Seeking further single-sourcing, Lakeside and Dana brought in Sherwin-Williams, knowing that it could provide all the coatings products necessary for the project. These would range from premium, long-lasting interior latex ProMar 200 wall coatings from the company's architectural division to heavy-duty, low-VOC coatings used on steel, stairwells and handrails from the company's Industrial & Marine group. They would also include a highly durable floor system from Sherwin-Williams General Polymers brand that would be used in more than 70,000 square feet of the building.

Of the $3 million contracted for interior and finishing work, $600,000 would be dedicated to coatings and flooring.

"We've worked with Dana in the past, but on a job this size, I think it was more important than ever to have a supplier with whom we could work closely and write specifications," says project estimator Randy Deniston. "It also helped to have the name recognition of a world leader. Sherwin-Williams gives you that kind of credibility with owners." Lakeside's ability to take on several finishing tasks helped expedite the project, according to Deniston.

"Since we employ many of the trades here, there's no infighting. The trades aren't bumping into each other," he says. These include the painters, who were able to work efficiently while drywallers, carpenters and flooring installers were still on the premises.

Deniston says painting tasks were essentially broken down into four categories: exterior, interior walls and ceilings, miscellaneous and floors.

Even though Lakeside bills itself as in interior finish contractor, finishing building exteriors are a matter of routine for the firm. Roughly 40,000 square feet of concrete exterior was primed with a coat of Loxon Masonry Primer, followed by two coats of Loxon Masonry coating, all spray applied.

The Loxon line proved useful indoors as well, where concrete block was left with a pinhole-free appearance after application of Loxon Block Surfacer. The walls, as well as interior drywall in office areas, were then finished with a coat of Sherwin-Williams ProMar 200, a premium interior wall product from Sherwin-Williams Architectural Group. For the ceilings, Dana and Lakeside took advantage of the low-VOC qualities of Sherwin-Williams Waterborne Acrylic Dryfall.

Other interior surfaces, such as handrails, stairwells and miscellaneous steel, were finished with Sherwin-Williams Industrial Enamel.

Floors appeared to be the greatest challenge. Dana specified the General Polymers TPM 115 system, which requires laying a quarter inch troweled epoxy-resin-mortar base topped by two coats of a high-solids epoxy and one coat of a high-solids polyurethane. The system was specified in more than 70,000 square feet of the building - practically everything that wasn't carpeted office area.

"They wanted a showroom finish that was also a high-abuse tolerant system," says Deniston. "They needed versatility. We sat down with Dana and Sherwin-Williams and came up with this solution.

"It's an outstanding system. Our challenge was that we hadn't applied a troweled system in nearly so big an area before. We had only used it in secondary containment areas, plant chemical rooms or water/wastewater applications."

Sherwin-Williams sales representative Steve Montgomery, who specializes in the General Polymers High-Performance Floor Systems, was on hand to provide on-site guidance for Lakeside crew members.

"This system requires some expertise to apply," says Montgomery. "But in the end you get a finish three times the strength of concrete."