The Columbus Metropolitan Library system will build a new branch on Parsons Avenue, nearly triple the size of the existing location.
Library officials spent $1.15 million on seven parcels totaling 1.5 acres along Parsons, Deshler and Stewart avenues. They consisted of six commercial properties -- five of which are vacant -- and one abandoned apartment building.
"We're very excited about this first step in the process of constructing a brand new building," said Gregg Dodd, library system marketing director.
The Parsons Branch, a 7,599-square-foot building that sits on a little more than half of an acre at 845 Parsons Ave., was built in 1956 and renovated in 1991.
The new building, which will be 20,000 square feet, will be located about a half mile south of the current branch, between Deshler and Stewart avenues.
Dodd said there simply was no room to expand on the current property.
"We knew that just wasn't an option," he said.
The new branch will have a larger Homework Help Center space, a dedicated Kindergarten Readiness Zone, more meeting rooms and private study spaces, and a drive-up book drop.
Jeanne Likins, president of the German Village Society Board of Trustees, said she welcomes the changes.
"I think all of those additional programs are important and I'm happy to know those resources will be available in our local area," Likins said.
Dodd said one of the biggest complaints from visitors is the lack of parking at the Parsons Branch. That will be resolved at the new branch, which will have nearly 100 spaces.
"It is a busy branch because it's serving quite a few neighborhoods there," Dodd said.
"Because of the density of the population, it is definitely one of our busiest neighborhood branches."
The design also will feature a lot of glass, allowing for transparency and natural illumination, he said.
"We want people to walk and drive down Parsons Avenue and be able to look in and see all the activity that's taking place," Dodd said.
"We're really proud to be building community gathering places that will meet the needs of the 21st century."
Architect Moody Nolan will begin the design process for the new branch in the coming weeks, and library officials anticipate breaking ground in late 2014. Construction will take a year to complete.
"The existing building will remain open through the design and construction process and customers will not be impacted," Dodd said, adding the site of the existing branch likely will be sold when the project's complete.