Columbus Metropolitan Library Chief Executive Officer Patrick A. Losinski calls the Karl Road branch "an important civic building for Northland."

Just what a revamped version of that structure is going to look like was the subject of a design meeting Feb. 28 at the branch that was attended by a variety of people interested in finding out what's ahead.

"I'm really excited to be a part of this process," branch manager Keith Hanson said in welcoming remarks.

"We are all here for the same reason, and that's about the future of this branch and this community," said Katie Chatas, a member of the library's board of trustees.

"This is a big project," Losinski said.

"It's an important project. All libraries are local. This is your library, but it's part of a system."

The upgrade to the Karl Road branch, which was built in 1988, is expected to double its size from the current 20,000 square feet.

The project is one of four branch makeovers, expansions or replacements in a second phase of construction projects, along with the Hilltop, Gahanna and Reynoldsburg branches.

Since it's a given that the new Karl Road building will be on the 5.5-acre site of the current branch -- something that's not certain for the other phase-two projects -- construction almost certainly will start first on the new Northland building, according to Losinski.

The library CEO estimated that the updated branch will open in the first quarter of 2021, in the middle or late spring.

The Moody Nolan architectural firm will handle the Karl Road project.

The company was represented at the Feb. 28 meeting by founder Curtis Moody, who designed the existing branch, and his son, Jonathan Moody, now president of the company.

Jonathan Moody related for those at the design meeting how, as a preschooler, the future Northland High School graduate would come to the Karl Road library and for the first time, being able to grasp what it was his father did for a living.

"It is fortuitous to be able to come back 31 years later and talk about the future of the branch," Jonathan Moody said.

The Karl Road site is unique, he added, because it sits in between two large residential areas to the east and west.

"Our challenge is to take what we hear and translate it ... into a new branch," Jonathan Moody said.

During his remarks, Curtis Moody urged those in attendance to free their imaginations when it came to making suggestions.

"We do like to stretch you a little bit and dream a little big," he said.

"That doesn't mean the budget will stretch, because it won't."

During the public comment time, adults offered the following suggestions:

* More computers.

* Quiet areas for adults to read the newspaper.

* Small study rooms.

* Reading areas that look out onto a green space.

* A children's area that is separate from adult spaces.

The few teens on hand came up with these ideas:

* More teen computers "so I don't have to wait."

* Gaming in the teen area "like what they have at the Parsons Branch.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1