There's real substance to the notion that every woman is different. No two person's attitudes, bodies, or goals in life are ever exactly the same. But if there's one thing that every person shares, it's that our bodies change as we get older. That's especially true for females over the age of 50. One day you wake up, roll out of bed, and attack the day with vigor and positivity.
The next day, it seems like your emotions are out of control. Despite dieting and healthy life choices, your weight won't go down. It seems like you're having to deal with uncomfortable hot flashes every other hour of the day. Life can be hard after 50, especially when it seems like your body is plotting against you.
But the truth is, these changes are a completely normal part of the aging process for women. As you might be aware, this change is called menopause, and according to the NIH, more than one million women go through it every year. This change in life marks the end of your period. During this time, your hormones begin to deplete, causing a range of symptoms that can be difficult to deal with without professional help. Some of the most common symptoms of menopause include:
Trying to juggle and cope with the symptoms of hormone deficiency can be rough for women and their partners because many of them are linked to nutrition, stress, and lack of exercise.
Fortunately, getting older and going through menopause doesn't have to be the worst time in your life. Hormone replacement therapy for women in Horizon West, FL, can help correct the imbalances in your body that are brought on by menopause. These safe, proven treatments from NV Medical Orlando can help balance your hormones during menopause and even help you reclaim your youth.
As a locally owned and operated shutter business, doing right by our customers is our top priority. We know that there are many options out there, so we at the Shutter Shop specialize in providing our customers the highest quality product at the most reasonable price.
We're able to offer impeccable customer service and high-quality shutters and blinds at low prices because, unlike others, we are the manufacturers. That means everything you order from the Shutter Shop is made right here in Georgetown, FL by our talented team. We're proud to say that products made here at The Shutter Shop are shipped to builders and homeowners all across the United States.
It all started when Shawn Reardon, The Shutter Shop's sole owner, and his wife moved from Santee to Georgetown in 2003. They were new to the ins and outs of shutters but wanted to start up a new business on the coast of South Carolina. They started out manufacturing plantation shutters only and a couple years later began manufacturing all exterior window coverings also.
At NV Medical Orlando, our HRT treatments for women include the use of pellets, which are about the size of a tic-tac and contain hormones like estrogen and testosterone. These pellets are implanted subcutaneously to supply your body with the hormones it needs. Each pellet contains a tiny number of bioidentical hormones that are released steadily into your bloodstream for up to five months.
Unlike other sexual health centers, every HRT treatment provided by our women's sexual health clinic is tailored to our patients. While natural hormone replacement therapy is effective for many women, every patient is different. That's why it's important that you speak with a board-certified doctor, like Gina Kirkpatrick, before starting any HRT treatment to make sure it's right for you.
When a woman's hormones are balanced, there's a better chance that she will be able to live a happy, normal life. That's where the beauty of HRT for women begins to unfold because it balances hormones in your body that would otherwise be disrupted due to menopause.
HRT treatments for women are revolutionary in that they allow you to enjoy life without suffering through all the pitfalls associated with getting older. However, at NV Medical Orlando, our team understands that no two women have the same bodies or hormone imbalances. That's why our board-certified and fellowship-trained urologist, Gina Kirkpatrick, D.O., provides personalized HRT therapy options for women.
Is HRT treatment from NV Medical Orlando the answer to your mood, weight, and exhaustion problems? That's the million-dollar question we get almost every day. And honestly, it's difficult to say until we can see you in our office and conduct a thorough examination. What we can say is that when your hormones are balanced optimally during menopause, you have a much better chance of living a normal life without the overwhelming symptoms that many women experience.
At NV Medical Orlando, we prioritize helping women balance their hormones to live healthy, fulfilling lives. Our HRT therapy options aren't just about getting you on a regimen - it's about giving your body the nutrition and love it deserves through a patient-first approach.
Unlike some clinics that rush their patients into therapy, our team focuses on our patient's needs and goals first. To achieve those goals, we conduct thorough blood tests and comprehensively examine your health during your first visit. That way, we can discover your underlying problems, determine your hormone levels, and get a better sense of your needs.
After that, our dedicated physician will develop a personalized treatment plan for you. The goal of this plan is to outline your HRT journey so that we can balance your hormones and your whole body. During this process, we'll keep a close eye on your hormone replacement therapy for women in Horizon West, FL. Like a web, HRT therapy covers several facets of female health. Each piece of that web works in tandem with others to make up how you feel. If we need to tweak aspects of your plan to help you feel better, we'll let you know and will adjust accordingly.
At the end of the day, we want you to feel safe, empowered, and like you're part of our family. After all, true HRT for women doesn't just balance hormones - it optimizes wellbeing and health, too. That's why NV Medical Orlando is dedicated to giving you a one-of-a-kind experience and specialized care, so you'll never feel like you're falling through the cracks.
Up to this point, we've talked about all the greatness that can come with HRT from NV Medical Orlando - but what are the actual benefits? Let's take a look.
Most women who consider natural hormone therapy are curious about its benefits and the results of long-term clinical investigations. Who wouldn't be? When it comes to the symptoms of menopause, natural estrogen therapy can be incredibly effective for conditions like lack of sleep, weight gain, excessive sweating, mood swings, and more.
In addition to promoting overall health, HRT for women can help reverse sexual symptoms of menopause, like vaginal dryness and general discomfort during intercourse.
When used as part of a comprehensive preventive healthcare plan, HRT can be an invaluable tool for women. That's because hormone therapies like estrogen treatment have been shown in clinical investigations to reduce the risk of serious concerns like osteoporosis and bone loss.
But that's just the start. Clinical studies report a wide range of HRT benefits, including:
To learn more about the benefits of HRT and whether treatment is right for you, contact our office today. If you're ready to feel better about getting older, NV Medical Orlando is here to help you every step of the way.
As we mentioned earlier, no two women will have the same hormone levels or HRT therapy needs. As such, every woman's timeline for menopause relief will be different. Generally, however, a standard HRT timeline may look like this:
Around week one, many women notice that they experience fewer hot flashes than normal. Some women notice these improvements only a few days after their first treatment.
After about two to three weeks of HRT for women in Horizon West, FL, many women notice that they have less irritability, anxiety, and fewer mood swings. During this phase, hot flashes should continue diminishing, and sleep may improve. Other benefits of HRT, like increased libido and more energy, are also expected during this phase.
Starting around weeks three to four, many HRT patients will notice drastic improvements in menopausal symptoms.
Around weeks five and six, it's common for women to notice physical differences like healthier skin, less hair loss, and even weight loss. With time, these improvements become even more pronounced.
At NV Medical Orlando, we don't only treat our patients for sexual health and wellness. Because Dr. Gina Kirkpatrick is a fellowship-trained urologist, our clinic has the capacity to treat all matters related to sexual health and wellness, including certain urologic conditions.
Have you started to notice that things âdown underâ are different than they were years ago? Are you experiencing disconcerting symptoms such as:
If you've noticed any of the above symptoms, you may be dealing with vaginal or pelvic floor laxity. For women dealing with these issues, vaginal rejuvenation often answers their problems. Vaginal rejuvenation is an umbrella term that covers several vaginal corrective procedures. These procedures can correct problems that occur after giving birth or during menopause.
Traditionally, these conditions have been treated with invasive surgeries and with supplements like vaginal estrogen or hyaluronic acid. However, modern treatment options like laser vaginal rejuvenation are growing in popularity and can help women avoid the pitfalls of surgery.
In fact, study centers around the world are using monopolar radiofrequency for vaginal laxity in premenopausal women. Studies show that treatment is safe and helps improve vaginal laxity and other sexual dysfunctions. Additionally, anecdotal evidence shows that patients have less urine leakage when coughing, laughing, sneezing, and exercising.
If you're unsatisfied with the appearance of your vagina or have noticed increased looseness or diminished lubrication, don't lose hope. Vaginal rejuvenation, HRT for women in Horizon West, FL, or a combo of the two may be right for you.
If you're a woman who finds herself lacking sexual desire or the act of sexual intercourse, you're not alone. In fact, research from 1999 shows that as much as 22% of women in the U.S. report low sex drive. Though this issue is often underreported, its causes and the available treatments are well-known.
Causes of low libido in women include:
Hysterectomies often result in a drastic drop of testosterone and estrogen in a woman's body. This drop in hormones has been linked to low libido.
Some medicines that are used to treat depression and anxiety, specifically SSRIs that inhibit serotonin, have been demonstrated to reduce sexual arousal.
Estrogen affects blood flow to vaginal and genital tissues. Reducing estrogen, which can occur during and after menopause, childbirth or surgical menopause created secondary to a hysterectomy can result in reduced vaginal blood flow and lubrication.
Studies on post-menopausal women have demonstrated that patients in poor health report lower sexual desire. In fact, symptoms like chronic pain, fatigue, and mood swings caused by chronic illnesses all contribute to decreased female libido.
Though low libido and the effects of unbalanced hormones can be concerning, treatment is available at NV Medical Orlando. First, a thorough physical exam and health history will be conducted to help our experts develop an optimal treatment plan for you. During your evaluation, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire that helps us assess your symptoms further. That way, we can craft an appropriate treatment regimen to address your symptoms and concerns.
The type of treatment recommended depends on your identified needs and may include hormone replacement therapy for women, vaginal treatments, oral medications, sexual therapies, or additional treatment regimens.
If you're a woman suffering day-to-day from the symptoms of menopause, now is the time to balance your hormones and reclaim your life. Sure, menopause is a natural process that occurs in almost every woman's body. But that doesn't mean you must forego treatments like HRT to make your transition easier. Who says the second half of your life can't be better than the first?
At NV Medical Orlando, we have helped countless women overcome the life-changing symptoms associated with menopause and hormone imbalances, and we're here for you, too. Contact our office today to schedule your evaluation and take the first step toward long-term relief.407-730-4244
A new medical office building has lined up as the first phase of a new 19.06-acre development in Horizon West near the Hamlin Town Center.Hamlin developer Boyd Development Corp.'s related Hamlin Retail Partners West LLC filed an application with Orange County to build a 50,400-square-foot medical office building on a site at the northeast corner of New Independence Parkway and Avalon Road, per county documents.The project may cost between $3.8 million and $4.5 million to build, based on industry estimates, though it may cost mo...
A new medical office building has lined up as the first phase of a new 19.06-acre development in Horizon West near the Hamlin Town Center.
Hamlin developer Boyd Development Corp.'s related Hamlin Retail Partners West LLC filed an application with Orange County to build a 50,400-square-foot medical office building on a site at the northeast corner of New Independence Parkway and Avalon Road, per county documents.
The project may cost between $3.8 million and $4.5 million to build, based on industry estimates, though it may cost more than that overall once built out for medical uses.
Why this matters: New medical development creates space for health care organizations and temporary work for contractors, as well as creating permanent jobs in the area once completed.
The new development is nearby the Orlando Health Horizon West Hospital, which opened in January 2021. Documents do not detail a tenant or what is included in the future phases. Hamlin Retail Partners West bought the property for $4.64 million in 2015, per county records. Nothing has been built on the site yet.
Hamlin Retail Partners is seeking a development plan review by the county; no meeting date was set as of May 19. Representatives with Boyd Development were not immediately available for comment.
However, Horizon West has been booming with residential development, including new single-family subdivisions. The Horizon West Census Designated Place (CDP) grew from 14,000 residents in 2010 to 58,101 in 2020, the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data showed.
Population growth and an aging population often create demand for medical services, which typically draws new development, which has been the case in Central Florida, said Ashley Walker, a partner and broker with Orlando-based Millenia Partners, who is not involved with the project. "There's a lot of medical need there with all the rooftops there."
Meanwhile, the southwest Orlando market — which includes Horizon West — reported an office vacancy rate of 10.1%, per Colliers' first-quarter 2023 report, which was slightly better than the overall Orlando market's 12.6%.
Additionally, the southwest Orlando market's average office asking rate of $27.25 per square foot also was stronger than the Orlando area's overall $24.81 per square foot, the report showed.
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Current acute care beds
|2||2||Orlando Health Orlando Regional Medical Center|
|3||3||HCA Florida Osceola Hospital|
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — New fire stations are in the works for Horizon West. It’s an area of west Orange County where development is booming.What You Need To Know To keep up with the growth, the area’s newest fire station is set to open in the next few months.It’s always busy at Orange County Fire Rescue station 44. Division Chief Kimberly Buffkin checks in. She started with the department 20 years ago and knows what it’s like to head out on life-saving calls.But now s...
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — New fire stations are in the works for Horizon West. It’s an area of west Orange County where development is booming.
To keep up with the growth, the area’s newest fire station is set to open in the next few months.
It’s always busy at Orange County Fire Rescue station 44. Division Chief Kimberly Buffkin checks in. She started with the department 20 years ago and knows what it’s like to head out on life-saving calls.
But now she serves as the Division Chief of Planning and Technical Services, which involves planning future stations.
“I enjoy being a part of that growth with the community,” Buffkin said.
Orange County estimates that the overall Horizon West special planning area has reached 68% build-out, meaning a lot more growth is still on the way.
Buffkin says officials had to account for it, too.
“Several years ago, we noticed the growth in the Horizon West area and we realized we couldn’t wait for the planned station 44 to be built, so we moved into this temporary station here to provide fire service to this area,” Buffkin said.
Since opening up, they’ve seen their call volume grow with the area. In 2019, station 44 responded to just over 1,000 calls and in 2021, responded to over 1,500, which is about a 50% increase. Last year, calls climbed to nearly 2,000.
“Every time you come here is new subdivisions coming up, there are new retail and commercial businesses being built as well, we are definitely seeing growth out here,” Buffkin said.
To keep up, in about 45 days, Station 44 will move into a new home and this station will become Station 48, bringing even more first responders into the area.
“We are happy to be able to be open a second station, a permanent 44, a new 48 to better serve the community,” she said.
Nearby on Reams Road, Buffkin is ecstatic to check in on the future home of Station 44.
“It is exciting. It almost finished,” Buffkin said, as she walked up to the new station.
While 44 is almost finished, she’s already looking towards the future again, planning for station 49, which could come to the area in a few years.
“The growth that we are seeing out here, it is comforting to know we will have another station serving the community,” Buffkin said.
Buffkin shared that OCFR is actually doing a study to make sure it's keeping up with the projected growth. That study will help the department develop even more plans for the future.
PHASESPHASE 1ABiking/pedestrian trailsPicnic pavilionsHiking pathsPlaygroundRestroomsEntry driveParking landscape enhancementsPHASE 1BSplash padKayak/canoe launchPicnic sheltersFarmers marketOpen lawnBotanical gardenParkingOffice buildingPHASES 2-Unfunded/TBDThe Horizon West Regional Park already is mapped out, and a groundbreaking will take place this summer.“My passion is to make sure this park is a dedicated space for all the residents of D...
The Horizon West Regional Park already is mapped out, and a groundbreaking will take place this summer.
“My passion is to make sure this park is a dedicated space for all the residents of District 1,” Orange County District 1 Commissioner Nicole Wilson said. “The commitment is there, the land is bought, we have all the pieces in place.”
The park will sit on 215.25 acres at Hamlin Groves Trail and Mann Road in Winter Garden. With its confirmed acreage, the Horizon West Regional Park will be bigger than the Boombah Sports Complex in Sanford, which only is 102 acres.
Even though originally the park was thought to be a designated sports complex, because of changes in surveys results Orange County passed to the community, the conceptual plan changed. The top five categories in these surveys ended up being biking and pedestrian trails, picnic pavilions, hiking paths, open spaces and sports.
“People want all of that, and that’s where you get the regional park, where you are able to bring all those parts together,” Wilson said. “The evolution of this area, and more residents added … what they are asking for is reflected in the survey, so that’s what is directing us in the allocation of these spaces.”
This park has been a couple of years in the making. As of today, there are about $10 million allocated to its development.
“It’s literally built into our tax structure new development impact fees,” Wilson said. “We have a (Parks and Recreation) impact fee component that has adjusted over time that we have just recently looked at again to make sure that we are getting what we need, knowing that these costs have changed.”
Part of the reason for the delay in the groundbreaking for construction is the rise of construction costs in the last two years. To compensate, Wilson said there is additional $5 million allocated toward funding for Phase 1 completion.
“The $5 million is toward additional amenities,” Wilson said. “So, anything that doesn’t go into what was already sort of allocated can be considered, or if the cost of what was already allocated changed, we can still bring those amenities.”
Funding for phases two through five is still to be determined, because the county will have to look into the General Fund, under the Capital Improvement Program projects for Parks and Recreation and determine how much can be allocated for those particular phases.
To have full transparency through this process, the County Commission goes through a procurement process when searching for construction partners.
“If we are hiring people to come in, we want to make sure they are so well-vetted and that they are the best option for our taxpayers’ investment,” Wilson said.
The park will have a connected trail system so people will be able to access the park through multiple biking and pedestrian trails as well as hiking paths. However, to alleviate traffic, there will be two access points — one being located by Hamlin Groves Trail.
“My dream is to see that it is part of what people want, so that they can ride their bikes from home into the park (and that it ) connects with the West Orange Trail,” Wilson said. “One of the things that we fight for every time we get a roadway project here is to make sure that we have a multi-use pass, bike lanes and the ability for those communities to access any services. The park will have parking spaces to accommodate hundreds of vehicles and also room for overflow vehicles.
“The park areas have not (yet) been designed to completion, so (the Parks and Recreation Department) does not want to give a number (of parking spaces),” Wilson said. “But there will definitely be built-in parking and then some room for overflow.”
The park will have a public library — which is still in the design phase under the Orange County Public Library System — and a potential YMCA, along with tennis and pickleball courts, baseball and softball fields, multi-purpose fields to accommodate sports such as soccer, an indoor aquatic facility, a dog parkland indoor and outdoor performance areas, and more.
A Coral Springs-based company is ready to make a splash in west Orange County with plans to build a surf park at a soon-to-close landfill on Avalon Road.The developers behind the project say the public venue would include a 15-acre pool capable of creating waves as high as 10 feet, according to a report in GrowthSpotter. Plans also call for a restaurant and shops for the 44-acre p...
A Coral Springs-based company is ready to make a splash in west Orange County with plans to build a surf park at a soon-to-close landfill on Avalon Road.
The developers behind the project say the public venue would include a 15-acre pool capable of creating waves as high as 10 feet, according to a report in GrowthSpotter. Plans also call for a restaurant and shops for the 44-acre project that’s envisioned to drive professional and collegiate surfing competitions to a spot about 60 miles from the nearest beach.
A company called Ocean Sports Development submitted a preliminary application to Orange County on Sept 21 for the property at 7902 Avalon Road in Horizon West. Located just east of the Western Beltway and across the street from Orange County National Golf Course, the property has for years been used as a private landfill for construction and demolition debris.
Gregory Lee, an attorney with Baker Hostetler who is representing the applicants, told county planning staff at a meeting Wednesday the landfill is set to close soon.
“This (surf park) would generate waves for recreational use,” Lee said. “We also believe that this facility could accommodate some special events related to surfing.”
The project, which requires a land-use amendment, is pending final approval by the county.
Ocean Sports Development plans to invest “several million dollars” on excavation, while the development of the surf park is expected to cost $45 million, Anthony Brown, the company’s chairman told GrowthSpotter. Plans include a beach volleyball court, playground, a pavilion, a surf shop, and an academic center for educational programs.
This would be the company’s first surf park, but Brown said the goal is to open as many as 30 nationwide over the next 20 years.
Another goal: use the locations to help establish surfing as an NCAA-sanctioned sport.
“We are bringing surfing to the masses,” Brown said. “While this is something you can do for amusement, we are really focusing on the development of this sport for high schools and colleges. Surfing is not currently an NCAA sport. It is an intramural sport, not governed by the NCAA.”
Surfing debuted as an Olympic sport during the 2020 Tokyo games and has been approved for the Paris Summer Olympic Games in 2024.
A concern raised by county staff at a recent meeting dealt with noise. On adjacent land to the north of the project site, Park Square Homes is planning to build a 260-unit apartment community called Horizon Vue.
Brown said noise shouldn’t create a nuisance.
“The only thing neighboring residents will hear is the relaxing crashing of the waves,” Brown said. “Our neighbors won’t even know we’re there.”
Brown believes the landfill can be redeveloped without causing any environmental problems.
He notes that in 2022 the county and state allowed Ocean Sports Development to conduct a test dig on the property to evaluate what’s buried there.
Brown said since the landfill holds construction materials such as metal, sheetrock, concrete and brick, there aren’t any harmful gases or hazardous pollutants.
“All we are going to do is reconfigure the site to house what we want to house,” he said. “No waste will be moved off-site. The site will be excavated and refilled in accordance with state statutes in order to level the site for our intended development. We want to make sure we aren’t going to cause any environmental damage.”
The landfill contents were not discussed at the Oct. 10 meeting between the developer and county planning staff.
Denise Cochran, an environmental program supervisor with Orange County’s environmental protection division, said the county is awaiting more data from landfill operators.
“Orange County’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) has communicated to the landfill representatives that more recent groundwater quality data is needed for the end of their 5-year long-term care period, which is now,” Cochran said. “This data would also be used to guide the proposed redevelopment.”
The proposed wave pool would have a 35-million-gallon water capacity and be surrounded by a beach, support retail, stormwater pond, and parking, according to materials sent to the county. The pool itself would have a 22 -foot high center island to house the wave machine and a 14-foot depth at its center.
Using patented technology, the Ocean Sports Development surf park can create a variety of waves similar to what can be found at the beach, according to the company’s website.
Brown said the customer can choose the waves they want or a randomized experience. The park would be open to the public, at a rate of $100 per 90 minutes or $33 per half hour. Surfboards would be available for rent or purchase.
“We are excited,” he said. “Orlando is the number one tourist market in the world, and that’s the reason we targeted this location for our first surf park.”
Horizon West residents will welcome yet another major development to the rapidly expanding community with the addition of a new Orange County Library System branch.On June 9, 2022, the OCLS Board of Trustees approved leases for new library branches in both Horizon West and Lake Nona.The library signed a ground lease with Orange County in 2022 for the design and...
Horizon West residents will welcome yet another major development to the rapidly expanding community with the addition of a new Orange County Library System branch.
On June 9, 2022, the OCLS Board of Trustees approved leases for new library branches in both Horizon West and Lake Nona.
The library signed a ground lease with Orange County in 2022 for the design and construction of the library in the Horizon West Regional Park.
The branch location will offer 20,000 square feet of library space with meeting rooms, study rooms and OCLS’s first planned outdoor events area.
The project, led by architect Borelli & Partners and contractor HJ High Construction, is aiming for a spring/summer 2025 opening, according to Steve Powell, director/CEO at OCLS.
“The library had been looking for development opportunities for a branch in this fast-growing community for several years,” Powell said. “Due to the creative thinking and collaboration with Orange County, the library was able to acquire space to build in one of the most beautiful locations in Horizon West. We are thankful to our active partners Commissioner Nicole Wilson, Mayor Jerry Demings and Orange County Parks and Recreation for helping OCLS make this dream library become a reality.”
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
A plan for a Horizon West library branch has been in the works for many years.
In fact, OCLS Board of Trustees’ meeting minutes reflect discussions about a Horizon West branch since at least 2016.
Since March 2018, Powell said OCLS has been searching for affordable land to purchase or retail space to lease in both Horizon West and Lake Nona.
In April 2018, library staff shared with the library’s Board of Trustees that both areas of the county needed a branch, but the library’s branch expansion budget only allocated enough funding to begin construction of one branch at a time.
The Horizon West project began to make initial leeway during the November 2020 Board of Trustees meeting, where the board approved a resolution selecting the Horizon West “East Parcel,” located at the intersection of Tiny Road and Hamlin Groves Trail, as the preferred location for the branch.
In January 2021, the library board voted to commit to purchase a parcel of land at the northeast corner of the future Horizon West Regional Park. This action allowed OCLS staff to proceed with negotiations for the land purchase.
However, plans were interrupted temporarily when residents in Lake Nona sought to have OCLS build a branch in their community.
Although the library only had funding to build one new branch at a time, Orange County and city of Orlando officials collaborated to bring a proposal to the OCLS board to suggest a possible path to funding two locations simultaneously.
The county worked with the board to include the Horizon West branch in the design of the Horizon West Regional Park, and the city of Orlando agreed to include the Lake Nona branch in the government center it has planned for Dowden Road.
The library signed a ground lease with Orange County in 2022 for the design and construction of a library in the Horizon West Regional Park.
As the District 1 county commissioner, Nicole Wilson was essential to the process as she served on the Orange County Library District Governing Board and approved the annual budget.
“Over the past several years, we have closely monitored expenses, while saving money toward branch construction,” Powell said. “We are now in a place where we can actively work on both locations at the same time.”
HORIZON WEST HOME
OCLS agreed to design the 11-acre campus, which includes 1.25 acres for the 20,000-square-foot library building, shared parking, an access road, walkways, retention ponds and space for a future multi-use facility.
The library will have three large meeting rooms. One room will be 1,500 square feet, and the other two will be 750 square feet.
“Our goal is that the rooms will be able to be combined if needed into one large meeting room of 3,000 square feet, making it flexible enough to accommodate larger groups when requested,” Erin Sullivan, chief marketing and public relations officer at OCLS, said. “The meeting rooms will also have access to an outdoor area.”
In addition, the branch plans to have two small study rooms, of 400 square feet each, and two training rooms where the library can host classes and events.
Perhaps one of the most special highlights of the branch is it will have an outdoor stage with a grassy seating area to host large events and outdoor programming. It will be the first branch to feature such an expansive outside area dedicated to library events.
OCLS officials said they have had several meetings with Borrelli & Partners and HJ High to discuss library programmatic requirements, design and LEED certification.
Because the library will be located within a county park, OCLS also has been working with Orange County Parks & Recreation for approval on a site plan. Currently, the architect team is working on the design plan.
“We are in the initial stages of site layout and building design, and we have completed the first review toward achieving LEED Silver,” Powell said. “We’re expecting the branch to cost around $22.5 million, but due to supply-chain issues and wildly fluctuating construction costs, it is hard to determine an accurate number.”
MORE THAN BOOKS
Danielle King, chief branch officer overseeing the project, said the residents of Horizon West have been supportive of the library.
“We are excited that we are able to build a branch in this amazing community,” King said. “The Horizon West library will be designed to take advantage of some of the beautiful outdoor elements of the park, blending innovation with nature. … The location of the library in the Horizon West Regional Park will create synergy between the park and library, which will generate new opportunities for the community to learn, grow, and connect.”
As time has progressed, libraries have evolved to be about more than just checking out books.
As the needs of the community have changed, Sullivan said OCLS has adapted its services to meet the new needs.
“As more people turn to using e-readers and audiobooks, we have built a robust catalog of digital titles that can be streamed or downloaded to a Kindle or smartphone,” she said. “I use my Apple Homepod all the time to listen to audiobooks I’ve checked out through the library. We also offer online access to magazines and periodicals through digital services, such as Pressreader — if you’ve been on a JetBlue flight, this is the same service they offer, so you can read magazines in flight.”
In addition, as the demographics of the community are changing, the library offers a growing number of language learning offerings.
There are in-person classes for people who want to learn basic Spanish, as well as classes for people for whom English is a second language. Community members who wish to learn a language on their own can download the Mango Languages or Rocket Languages apps, log in with their library card and learn whatever language they choose at their own speed.
Libraries also have come to serve as gathering spaces, where people can come together to meet, learn or just participate in unique experiences that don’t cost anything.
Sullivan said the library hosts events, including author events, cooking demonstrations, book clubs, sewing and knitting classes, tech classes and craft activities for kids and adults.
Carissa Hickok-Bergeron, Horizon West resident, said she brings her 3-year-old son to the Winter Garden and Windermere library branches multiple times a week.
“I believe our new branch will positively impact our community by creating opportunities to learn, grow and even meet other members of our community,” she said. “My son currently participates in library programs and activities such as yoga, crafts, story time, American Sign Language class and the pre-kindergarten readiness program. He completed the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Challenge through our library system before turning 3 years old. We check out several books each week.”
The mother said one of her favorite parts about OCLS is meeting other families.
“Our new branch will add a closer location for my family, making it even more convenient to pick out books and participate in fun, educational programs,” she said. “Creating a love of reading but allowing for connection within the community and fun learning experiences has been wonderful for my family.”
Recently, the library also has made some changes to make sure they are accessible and user friendly. For example, in October, the system joined a growing number of libraries across the country that have eliminated overdue fines for materials that are late.
“Life happens, and we know that, so we don’t want there to be shame or penalties for using the library and returning a book that’s overdue,” Sullivan said.
This year, OCLS will turn 100 years old, and the library is hosting a kickoff event Saturday, Jan. 7, to launch a year’s worth of special events and programs that mark the centennial year.
The library will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony with elected officials from around the county to help the system rededicate the library to the community for the next 100 years that morning.
Those who wish to find out more about the event, and others, can click here.
News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.