Library ready for renovations

By Josephine Birdsell
Staff Writer

The Columbus Metropolitan Library presented its plans to renovate the Hilltop library to the Greater Hilltop Area Commission at the Nov. 12 meeting.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library system is renovating four of its libraries as part of the second round of a series of facility renovations and updates that began in 2008. The Hilltop, Gahanna, Reynoldsburg and Karl Road branches of the library are all being renovated.

The Hilltop branch will receive and addition of 11,000-square-feet. The building will also be updated to include a learning lab with new computers, six individual quiet study rooms for students, and three adjustable meeting rooms. The new building design centers around a large kids area, which focuses on promoting kindergarten learning.

The renovations to the Hilltop branch are set to begin in March 2020 and are projected for completion in June 2021. The library is currently open for public use. When renovations begin, a temporary space will become available, although the location of the space has yet to be determined.

The Metropolitan libraries hopes the renovated library will serve as a ‘“beacon for the community,” said Alison Circle, chief customer experience officer.

The library was first built in 1998. The original building design focused on preserving and protecting the library’s collection of books and manuscripts, Circle said.

But that’s not how modern libraries operate. With more community spaces, more available technology and a more open design plan, the library will become more inviting, Circle said.

At the meeting, the commission approved zoning variances for the library concerning bush height and Dumpsters. But most of the plans for the library have already been set and approved.

“I think a library is a crucial centerpiece in a community,” said Scott Stockman, vice-chairman. “I think it’s going to be a really special part of the community.”

And the Metropolitan library agrees.

“We are dedicated to the Hilltop community and believe this investment in the community is a real positive step,” Circle said.

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