“Healthy Community Center” Planned for Former Library Building

Brent Warren Brent Warren “Healthy Community Center” Planned for Former Library BuildingPhoto by Walker Evans.
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The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center announced a plan today to turn the former Martin Luther King Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library into a “Healthy Community Center.”

Plans call for the 9,000-square-foot building, located at 1600 E. Long St., to be renovated to accommodate a demonstration kitchen, meeting rooms, and a café dedicated to serving healthy foods. The overall focus of the space will be on programming aimed at decreasing obesity and educating the community about chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

“The community center will supplement the clinical services we offer at East Hospital and Outpatient Care East,” said Elizabeth Seely, chief administrative officer of the Hospitals Division for Ohio State’s Health System, in a statement. “We have a vested and growing interest in the health needs of area residents and decreasing risk factors for chronic disease.”

The announcement comes less than a month after the dedication of a new MLK branch, located just down the street at 1467 E. Long St.

The Master Planning and Facilities Committee of the OSU Board of Trustees is set to vote on the purchase of the building — for $245,000 — at its meeting on Thursday. The center will not open to the public until some time in 2020, with design and renovation expected to take much of 2019.

A press release said that OSU plans to form a “community advisory committee comprised of area stakeholders to refine the vision for the center and to ensure it meets the complex needs of the community.”

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