CML plans to expand and renovate the Hilltop library

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By Andrea Cordle
Westside Editor

Officials at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) want to grow and adapt with the constantly changing community. In order to do so, the library has announced plans to renovate and expand the Hilltop Library.

The Hilltop Branch, located at 511 S. Hague Ave., was constructed in 1996 and has 20,000 square feet of space. The renovation and expansion project is expected to add an additional 10,000 to 12,000 square feet of space. The board of trustees for CML selected Gresham Smith as the architect for the project.

According to Ben Zenitsky, marketing and communications specialist for CML, the most popular programs at the Hilltop Library would receive a boost with this expansion project.

“We are going to enhance the offerings around young minds,” said Zenitsky. “This means more space and programs for children and teens.”

One of the most popular programs at the Hilltop branch is the Homework Help Program. The library offers after-school homework help at all its branches. It helps students succeed in school by offering staff and volunteer assistance, spaces to study or learn, computers and printers, school supplies and resource books.

“Homework Help is big at the Hilltop Branch and it will get a boost,” said Zenitsky.

In addition to an enhanced area for children, the expansion would provide more meeting room space, designated quiet areas and more public computers.

The estimated cost of the Hilltop renovation and expansion project is $11.5 million, according to Zenitsky. That is part of a $77 million CML project to renovate or rebuild its aging or outgrown facilities. CML is funding the projects through operational savings, fundraising and the sale of bonds.

The library system is completing its first phase of a building program, which renovated or rebuilt 10 of its 23 libraries. The Hilltop Branch project is included in the second phase of CML projects.

In a press release, the library gave this statement. “CML understands that great libraries create stronger communities and each branch is an essential hub that reflects the unique needs of the neighborhood it serves. Some of CML’s 21 locations are 40 to 50 years old and inadequate to meet the demands of the growing 21st century community. Demands and expectations will continue to grow, along with the population of Franklin County.”

According to Zenitsky, the physical location of the Hilltop Library expansion is still being considered. Construction is estimated to begin within the next two years. The project could be complete by 2021.

For more information on library programs or to track the progress of the CML building program, visit columbuslibrary.org.

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