New Reynoldsburg library branch planned, opening scheduled for 2023

Kelley Rodriguez
ThisWeek
Alexandria Carter, information services manager, helps Janet Smith of Whitehall find materials Feb. 25, at the Reynoldsburg branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library. Opened in 1980 at 1402 Brice Road, the 19,800-square-foot library is the oldest CML branch in use. A new 37,500-square-foot branch is expected to open in 2023.

In the four decades since it was built, the Reynoldsburg library branch on Brice Road has grown alongside the community.  

The existing 19,800-square-foot library opened in 1980 at 1402 Brice Road. The library, and an office building at 1418 Brice Road, will be demolished to make way for a new, 37,500-square-foot branch, said Ben Zenitsky, Columbus Metropolitan Library spokesman.    

“At more than 40 years old, it’s currently our oldest branch still in use,” Zenitsky said. “In those 40 years, aside from the suburb’s population doubling, the needs of its residents have evolved dramatically. The way customers use public libraries has changed also. No longer are libraries merely vaults for books.  

“Public libraries of the 21st century serve as community centerpieces, with iconic designs and wide-open, welcoming spaces filled with natural light and an emphasis on people. We’re eager to shatter Reynoldsburg’s preconceived ideas of a public library.” 

The $21 million branch is expected to open in 2023 with construction beginning later this year or early 2022, he said. 

Katelyn Gilmore, customer service specialist, pulls materials to fill a customer's pickup order Feb. 25 at the Reynoldsburg branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

“The biggest change is we’re finally going to have ample room for people to use the branch in more personal and creative ways,” branch manager Dave Dennison said. “Currently we have one small conference room and one small meeting room, and there’s a tremendous demand for both of those. We have ample space for our collection and our computers, but we don’t have ample space just for people to use the library in the way they want to use it.” 

While specific details on the new branch haven’t been completed, library customers can expect more open spaces with seating and natural light and reservable meeting rooms.  

More quiet study spaces also are planned as are an expanded Homework Help Center and teen space.  

The children’s area will grow to include a specialized Ready for Kindergarten area where preschoolers and their families can familiarize themselves with a kindergarten classroom. 

Opened in 1980 at 1402 Brice Road, the Reynoldsburg facility is the oldest Columbus Metropolitan Library branch still in use. A new library nearly double the size of the current one is expected to open in 2023.

“I’m looking forward to having easier access for all of our customers. Accessibility is going to be a great big picture item that’s going to change with the new building,” Dennison said. “We’re tucked away now and not visible from the street. I think that we’re probably going to see more exposure to Brice Road.”  

The library will seek input from Reynoldsburg library patrons via an email survey, Zenitsky said.  

The branch is being designed by Jonathan Barnes Architecture and Design and the Gund Partnership. Turner is the construction manager at risk on the project. 

The office building south of the library is expected to permanently close later this year, Zenitsky said. The library purchased the property last fall.  

A temporary location will be set up to provide library services until the new branch opens, he said. 

Library construction could coincide with the redevelopment of an adjacent 20-acre parcel at the corner of Brice and Main Street.  

A vacant Kmart store is expected to be torn down this summer in anticipation of the Christian and Missionary Alliance redevelopment project spearheaded by the religious organization moving its corporate headquarters to Reynoldsburg.  

The Alliance has proposed a mix of housing, retail/corporate, hotel and convention space on the 11 acres it’s in contract to purchase at the northeast corner of Brice Road and Main Street, including the former Kmart store. The Colorado-based group also is in negotiations to buy the remaining 9 acres to the left of the Kmart site where a strip mall now operates, city officials said. 

In 2019, CML completed phase 1 of its building program, which renovated or rebuilt 10 of its 23 locations. Phase 2 includes the Gahanna, Hilltop and Karl Road branches in addition to Reynoldsburg.  

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

For updates on the project, visit columbuslibrary.org/buildings_phase_two

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