New Gahanna library: Building project moves forward after delay

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
The Gahanna branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library at 310 Granville St. will be demolished to make way for a new library.

Gahanna residents will have an opportunity to see the proposed design of their approximately $20.5 million new library during a virtual meeting at crowdcast.io/e/gahannadesign beginning at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14.

“We are fully committed to this reinvestment in the Gahanna community,” said Patrick Losinski, CEO of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, of which Gahanna is a branch. 

“Though the process has been delayed due to the pandemic, a combination of fiscal stewardship from our library team, visionary leadership from our board of trustees and a forward-thinking design from the architects at NBBJ will ensure this new library branch becomes a reality,” he said.

Ben Zenitsky, the library system’s marketing and communications specialist, said the library system relies on state and and local property taxes for the vast majority of its funding.

"With the pandemic hitting in March, we needed to plan for a new fiscal reality," he said. "That expected revenue loss meant reducing our budget. The Gahanna and Reynoldsburg projects were early enough along that we were able to press pause."

The library’s board gave its approval for the Gahanna project to resume during its Dec. 3 meeting. 

Zenitsky said a groundbreaking is expected in late 2021, with the opening in 2022 or 2023.

He said the 2-story library would feature an expanded children's section and homework help center, a Ready for Kindergarten area for preschoolers, added quiet space, study rooms, more space for community meeting rooms and a large collection to explore. 

“We’re eager to share the design for this iconic new civic space, which, we think, will meet the changing needs of the Gahanna community,” Zenitsky said.

He said the virtual meeting on Crowdcast has a chat function, allowing participants to ask questions.

After the meeting, Zenitsky said, the design will be posted online at columbuslibrary.org (click on the “We’re Building New Branches!” box). 

A replay of the design unveiling presentation also will be available at crowdcast.io/e/gahannadesign.

“On behalf of our staff, I am so looking forward to reinvesting in our Gahanna community,” said Nate Oliver, manager of the Gahanna branch. “This new library, nearly double the size of the current branch, will offer something for customers of all ages.”

The Gahanna branch, originally built in 1991, is a 21,400-square-foot building, and the new building is estimated at 35,000 square feet and will be built in the same location at 310 Granville St.

The Columbus Metropolitan Library plans to demolish the current building and will identify a temporary location for library operations to continue during construction. 

Turner is the construction manager, and NBBJ is the architect.

In 2019, CML completed Phase 1 of its building program, which renovated or rebuilt 10 of its 23 locations.

The Gahanna branch project is part of Phase 2, which will renovate or rebuild an additional four locations. In addition to Gahanna, it includes the Karl Road, Hilltop and Reynoldsburg branches.

With each new building or renovation project, CML plans to use sustainable building materials, incorporate glass for natural light to reduce energy costs and introduce other design and building elements friendly to the natural environment.

Go to columbuslibrary.org for more information and to track progress of the building program.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla