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Library Purchases Ohio School For The Deaf Property

Buying old Deaf School won’t hinder library upgrades with levy money, Columbus library sticking with plan for new branches.

The old Asylum/Deaf School at 400 East Town St
COLUMBUS, OH - The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s decision to buy the former Ohio State School for the Deaf won’t interfere with planned renovation or replacement of almost half of its branch libraries.

“These are the libraries that we are committed to,” said Pat Losinski, library director

Two years ago, facing cuts in state funding, Columbus Metropolitan and other libraries cut staff, froze pay and closed doors on Sundays.

But with the passage of a 2.8-mill permanent operating levy in November 2010, the 21-library Columbus system quickly restored services and started planning upgrades of out-of-date or overcrowded branches.

The library makeover has been aided by near-record-low interest rates, said Steve Prater, the library’s director of property management. The library recently issued bonds totaling $98 million.

“That’s allowing us to accelerate the work,” Prater said.

Library officials on Wednesday announced plans to purchase the former Deaf school, allowing access to a parking lot that would be converted into an outdoor patio along the rear of the Main Library.

Renovation costs of up to $11 million, in addition to the $2.1 million purchase price, would be necessary if the library moves its administrative offices into the turn-of-the-century building. More likely, the library would sell the Deaf school portion of the property, possibly to a school. ... Read more:

A rendering of tentative plans for an expansion of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's main downtown branch shows how it would use the former Deaf School property.
A rendering of tentative plans for an expansion of the Columbus Metropolitan Library's main downtown branch shows how it would use the former Deaf School property.
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