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Coatings that stand up to weather help preserve history.

Two decades ago, Carole Lynn Meadows had a dream: Turn an old elementary school into a must-see learning destination for children along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

While the vintage building had good bones, years of neglect and weather damage had taken a heavy toll.

How did she move this project from vision to reality? By calling general contractor Gordon Myrick and painter David Shoemake, both of whom had the skills — and the heart — to bring The Lynn Meadows Discovery Center to life.

Relationships matter.

As a veteran painting contractor, David Shoemake values high-quality products and long-term business relationships. In his opinion, Sherwin-Williams scores high on both counts.

Among protective products, Shoemake says the SherLastic™ Elastomeric Coating stands out because it provides a very consistent, permeable base on which paint coverings will hold and last. In addition, he likes Loxon XP® Masonry Coating for its one-coat priming ability and tremendous waterproofing properties on old or porous surfaces.

On the relationship side, Shoemake stays with Sherwin-Williams because of its stability and partnership.

“For example, when I go to one of their stores and say I need more supplies for the Discovery Center project, I know the protective supplies I need will be there and that paint color matches will be impeccable,” Shoemake says. “That’s important to me. And to my clients.”

An initial inspection revealed that much of the old school’s brick and mortar walls were failing. That meant those surfaces had to be repaired before they would even accept a protective coating. Once the baseline work was complete, Shoemake applied SherLastic™ Elastomeric Coating to masonry walls. The sealer covered small cracks and provided a strong moisture barrier, which made the follow-up paint work smooth and easy.

When the Discovery Center first opened in 1998, distinguished by bold primary colors, it soon became a well-loved community asset for children and families. But seven years later, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the education wing and first floor of the renovated structure. Myrick and Shoemake were called in once again to repair the damage. In addition to using SherLastic on many of the rebuilt masonry surfaces, Shoemake also applied Loxon XP® Masonry Coating on some new vertical brick walls where one-coat priming was a distinct advantage. Like SherLastic, Loxon XP offers top protection against the Gulf Coast’s rain, wind and high humidity.

“Not every product can stand up to all these weather conditions, so you’ve got to be a little more particular with protective coatings in this kind of environment,” Shoemake says.

Through the initial renovation, post-Katrina repairs and subsequent additions, Myrick and Shoemake are proud of the legacy they’ve provided the community. So is Meadows.

“With vision, talent and hard work from people like David and Gordon, this project has become a part of local history,” says Meadows. “We’ve been on the same team for a long time and, in many ways, the Discovery Center is as much their baby as it is mine.”

Photography by Jackson Hill