The Columbus Metropolitan Library will break ground in March on a new Karl Road branch.

Ben Zenitsky, library spokesman, said the branch has outgrown its current building at 5590 Karl Road. The new library will be built in front of the current one.

"If you have been there in the after-school hours, you will immediately understand the need for a larger branch," he said.

Zenitsky said the project will start March 25 and is expected to be completed by summer 2021. He said the goal is to keep the current branch open during construction, and branch hours will be adjusted accordingly.

Zenitsky said the Karl Road library would kick off a second phase of renovations and new buildings for other locations in the system. He said the Hilltop branch, 511 S. Hague Ave., would be expanded and both the Gahanna branch, 310 Granville St., and Reynoldsburg branch, 1402 Brice Road, would receive a new building.

He said the Karl Road branch would have comparable features to other branches that recently have been renovated.

"You'll see similar themes," he said.

Zenitsky said the new location would have an enhanced children's area, a more prominent "ready for kindergarten" area, a more dedicated homework help center, a teen center, meeting rooms and updated technology.

The branch also will be 2 stories tall.

Johnathan Moody, an architect with Moody Nolan, a Columbus-based architecture firm working on the project, said the building would be about 40,000 square feet, which is about twice the size of the current building.

"For Karl Road, that will be a big deal because the new branch will be one of the largest in the system," he said.

Moody said the firm tried to keep in mind the changing area and how to attract people to the branch with the design.

"We focused a lot on kids, meeting center and the homework help center right when you walk in," he said.

Moody said the project also has a personal connection for him because his father, Curtis Moody, built and designed the original branch 30 years ago and also is working on the nerw building. He said this is the branch he visited while growing up in the area.

Moody said he vaguely remembers standing up in front of his preschool class and saying his dad drew the building. But he appreciates being part of the change.

"I'm excited about it, and it will be the first of the next wave of libraries," he said.

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