Heights Libraries Board Chooses Direction for University Heights Branch Renovation

At the September 28 meeting of the Heights Libraries Board of Trustees, the Board announced the direction and scope for the 2016 renovation of its University Heights branch.

The board meeting included a detailed presentation by Cleveland-based architecture firm CBLH Design Inc. about the proposed design, which included conceptual renderings of the interior and exterior. Time was provided during the meeting for library staff and residents to examine the drawings, ask questions of the board and architects, and offer feedback. Heights Libraries has scheduled another public meeting on October 11, 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. to allow University Heights residents another chance to examine the proposed designs and offer feedback. The meeting will take place at the University Heights branch, 13866 Cedar Road. 

“The design we’ve selected seeks to best accommodate the wishes of our residents and patrons, such as more parking, a rear door off the parking lot, a fully-functioning elevator, first floor bathrooms, and designated areas for children and teens,” said Heights Libraries Board President Rob Fischer. “The University Heights branch is the Library’s second-most heavily used building, after Lee Road, and these changes and additions will make it an even more functional resource for the Heights community.”

At a September 8 Board Committee meeting, CBLH presented the Heights Libraries board with three design concepts for the University Heights branch. The designs represented price points between $1 million and $4.5 million, and the selected design’s price will be approximately $4.3 million in anticipated project costs. The Library will pay for the renovation through money already budgeted in its Building and Repair fund—no new funds will be used for the renovation.

In preparation for the renovation, the Library has purchased two houses directly to the south of the current location on Fenwick Drive (2175 and 2179 Fenwick), and will close on a third house (2183 Fenwick) in October. The houses will be demolished in the fall, and the additional space will allow the Library to expand the building and the parking lot.

“We will be working closely with the City of University Heights to ensure that the new building’s design makes the best use of the existing space and meets the needs of the city and its citizens,” said Heights Libraries Director Nancy Levin. The Library will submit designs to the City of University Heights for review while CBLH Design begins its work on detailed plans.

While the design may change as the project moves forward, in the chosen schematic, CBLH’s Principal Marc Bittinger describes the design as “…a rectilinear glass shape, clad in wood, which promotes visibility both in and out to Cedar Road and creates a warm yet contemporary aesthetic. The new addition also promotes the original architecture by continuing its architectural lines, forms, and massing throughout the project while allowing the existing building to engage the addition to highlight some of the building’s original features.”

CBLH Project Manager John Rach added, “We design each library to capture the unique character of its community and believe this building will further reinforce its place in University Heights. We are very excited to be working on a project that is so important to its community.”

Many of the features of the new design schematic are a direct result of public meetings that Heights Libraries held in the winter of 2014, where residents were invited to share their hopes for the future of the University Heights branch.

The Library hopes to break ground in June 2016, and anticipates the project will take eight to 12 months.



Exterior from Parking Lot

Exterior from Cedar Road

Upper Level

Lower Level