Jonathan Moody has a vague recollection of his preschool class making a field trip to the Karl Road Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library and being aware he had a special connection to the building.

After all, his father, Curtis Moody, designed the structure.

"I was telling people you could say that was one of my first architectural experiences," Jonathan Moody, who now is president of the firm his father founded in 1982. "That was the first time I think I understood enough what my dad did to explain it to others."

"That was early in his development," Curtis Moody said. "He got to go into that library complete, one of the first of my projects he was able to experience that way."

Moody Nolan, renamed from the original Moody and Associates after Curtis Moody joined forces with the late Howard Nolan's engineering company, is the nation's largest African American-owned architectural firm.

And Jonathan Moody has a two-in-three chance of being the architect to design a replacement for the building on Karl Road that his father designed.

Curtis Moody has a one-in-three chance of succeeding himself.

"Who knows?" he said.

Representatives from Moody Nolan and library staff members will be on hand for a Feb. 28 design meeting from 5:30 to 7 p.m. that will allow patrons to weigh in on what they'd like to see when the 30-year-old branch is replaced, probably in early 2021.

The branch is located at 5590 Karl Road.

"The way we're doing it, we have a design process called the nine-square ... where we generate nine different options for the same project," Curtis Moody said.

"Jonathan will develop the majority of those ideas. I and maybe some others will develop some and then with the client, we'll see which ones meet the overall objective of the form of the building as well as the function of the building."

Moody Nolan personnel have winnowed the nine down to three -- two by the company's president and one by the founder.

Jonathan Moody, who graduated from Northland High School in 2002, said it wasn't necessarily the case that he was destined to follow in his father's footsteps as an architect. It wasn't until he took an introductory course to architecture at Cornell University that the decision was made.

"It was like, 'Wow, this was not at all what I thought I was going to learn in school,' " Jonathan Moody said. "My dad never pressured me. I think, honestly, if he would have pushed me, I'd have done something else."

Jonathan Moody earned his bachelor's degree in architecture and Africana studies at Cornell and then went on to obtain a master's in architecture at UCLA.

The Northland neighborhood has changed a great deal since his high school days, and Jonathan Moody wants the new library to reflect that.

"Part of the reason we want this project to be successful is there's so much transition," he said. "We want this to be kind of an anchor to help this area."

"It's incredibly gratifying to see a young man who spent part of his childhood browsing our collection grow up to lead the design of our new 21st-century library," Keith Hanson, manager of Karl Road Branch, wrote in an email. "And how inspirational it is for the kids at the branch to see a Northland graduate have such a profound impact here in our community."

Regardless of which Moody's concept eventually is selected, the firm's founder said Jonathan will ultimately take the design to its conclusion.

"We're really excited about the meeting ... hoping for a good turnout," Jonathan Moody said of the Feb. 28 gathering.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1