A former school building that sat on the site of Columbus Metropolitan Library's Dublin branch is the inspiration for a transitional element that is supposed to bridge the gap between historic Dublin and the new library's contemporary design.

In May, Dublin City Council tasked a committee to work with library architect NBBJ to come up with a theme and design for the transitional element. The committee comprised representatives from the Columbus Metropolitan Library system, the Dublin Historical Society, the Historic Dublin Business Association, Dublin Arts Council, Dublin Planning and Zoning Commission and Dublin Architectural Review Board.

A series of public comments helped form the committee's options for the transitional element's theme.

Tony Murry, who is with NBBJ, presented three options centering on the school theme to council members July 31. All three options would be located on the plaza outside the library.

* Option 1 -- A wall that would be built where the school wall formerly stood. The wall would feature arched windows enabling people to look out into the historic district and in toward the library.

* Option 2 -- Public art that could be created based on the themes of learning, knowledge and education.

* Option 3 -- An outline on the ground of the school's walls that would partially extend inside the library itself. While the outline could be designated by signage, it was presented as the least overt option of the three.

Murry said NBBJ would submit an option for final approval Aug. 24. No cost estimates have been determined for the three options, he added.

According to the book "Dublin's Journey," the building was referred to as "the ol' schoolhouse" and was built in 1870, Murry said.

Council member Tim Lecklider said the committee tasked with the transitional element design had provided a good set of final options.

"I trust in your collective wisdom," he said.

While she said she was concerned that the third option would be too subtle, council member Amy Salay said she liked all the designs overall. Because the south end of the historic district features an architectural element to recognize the former blacksmith shop at 32 West Bridge St., it would be fitting to have a similar element on the north side of the district, she said.

Dublin city officials have not discussed how the transitional element would be funded, said Vince Papsidero, director of planning with the city of Dublin.

At the end of April, council approved basic plan reviews for the library along with the adjacent city parking garage, which is slated to have four levels and 549 spaces.

The city's architectural review board July 26 recommended approval for the rezoning for the library, which will now go to the city's planning and zoning commission for review. The ARB also recommended approval for city council to permit the parking garage to be built within the historic district at 75 North High St.

NBBJ's proposed design for the $18.6 million library includes a 41,000 square-foot, three-level building that would have twice as much square footage as the current space.

Amenities include meeting and study rooms, a children's area, programming space, a teen area, a homework help center and a cafe.

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