New Hilliard Branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library, transformed by DesignGroup, opens June 21 with community celebration

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – DesignGroup’s expansive interior renovation of Columbus Metropolitan Library’s (CML) Hilliard Branch will be officially unveiled Thursday, June 21, at a community-wide dedication and celebration. DesignGroup’s experiential approach focused on creating a light-filled retreat in a wooded setting by introducing more opportunities for natural lighting, implementing strategic and colorful wayfinding, and developing sightlines that capitalize on connections to the exterior landscape.

            The grand opening event on June 21 begins at 3:30 p.m. and will include a brief dedication and ribbon-cutting, followed by entertainment, refreshments and tours of the new library. The former Hilliard Branch on Cemetery Road., which counted the highest circulation in the system and was in critical need of additional space, closed on June 6 in order for staff to prepare for the move to the new branch at 4500 Hickory Chase Way in Hilliard.

            The new location of the Hilliard Branch, which was originally built as a community center for a now-foreclosed senior center development, is triple the size of the former branch. DesignGroup’s extensive interior renovation of the more than 60,000-square-foot facility encompasses two floors of library space and includes a larger children’s area, a larger Homework Help Center, additional computer resources, a special Ready for Kindergarten area and a café, as well as additional meeting rooms, study rooms, community gathering spaces and parking.

            The innovative Hilliard Branch design also incorporates numerous sustainable building elements, including glass to reduce energy costs and other environmentally friendly materials.

            The $9.4 million project is DesignGroup’s second library renovation as part of CML’s transformative 2020 Vision Plan, one of the largest capital improvement programs in its history. The plan addresses the growing population of Franklin County as well as the needs of CML’s aging branches. DesignGroup has teamed up with CML on more than 150 projects since 1984.

            “Our longstanding partnership with Columbus Metropolitan Library has been rewarding and impactful on a number of levels,” said Michael Bongiorno, director and designer at DesignGroup. “Among our mission-driven goals from the beginning of the Hilliard Branch project were to create a welcoming, inspiring and enriching neighborhood hub for library customers of all ages and backgrounds, and to reflect and respond to the community that it serves for generations to come.”

            The DesignGroup team has successfully addressed the needs of two of the larger, more challenging and complex branch projects within CML’s 2020 Vision Plan, including the only renovation projects within the program. The Hilliard Branch project presented DesignGroup with an opportunity to tap the team’s creativity, vision and resourcefulness. The team reimagined the existing structural cross-bracing into dynamic reading nooks in the children’s, tween and adult areas. They also cut a large opening in the existing floor creating a new natural light-well, enhanced by a monumental grand stair to the second floor that brings architectural features and finishes amplifying the best of CML’s efforts to elevate design quality throughout the system.

            Similarly, in 2016, DesignGroup helped transform CML’s Northern Lights Branch into a state-of-the-art facility that wove together 50 percent renovation with 50 percent new construction on a tight site with challenging circulation patterns.

About DesignGroup

            Founded in 1972, DesignGroup is an AIA Ohio Gold Medal architecture and design firm with offices in Columbus, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The practice focuses on civic + cultural, education, library, healthcare and office projects. With numerous, award-winning projects located throughout the United States, DesignGroup’s work is unmistakable, with a balance of stunning contemporary architecture, thoughtful renovations and sustainable building practices. Civic responsibility is integral to DesignGroup’s philosophy; beyond bricks and mortar, the firm is deeply involved in community organizations and its design principals are recognized as thought leaders in design. 

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About Columbus Metropolitan Library

            Columbus Metropolitan Library has served the people of Franklin County, Ohio since 1873. With its Main Library and 22 branches, CML is well known for signature services and programs like Homework Help Centers, Reading Buddies, Summer Reading Challenge and Ready for Kindergarten. The library’s Strategic Plan supports the vision of “a thriving community where wisdom prevails,” which positions CML to respond to areas of urgent need: kids unprepared for kindergarten, third grade reading proficiency, high school graduation, college and career readiness and employment resources.

            CML was named a 2011 National Medal Winner by the Institute for Museum and Library Services for work in community service, the highest honor for libraries and museums. CML was also named 2010 Library of the Year by Library Journal.           

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