As a man, aging can bring about different emotions and experiences. For some, it's an exciting time when they get to enjoy the fruits of their labor without any stress. However, for others, it can be a scary prospect filled with exhaustion, depression, and sexual dysfunction. If you're over the age of 40 and have noticed decreased sex drive, irritability, and other unusual symptoms, don't despair. You may be suffering from a common issue that affects nearly 14 million men in the USA: low testosterone.
The good news is that low testosterone (also called low T) can be treated with relative ease. NV Medical Horizon West provides TRT in Horizon West, FL, to help men like you enjoy a fulfilling life without the debilitating symptoms of low testosterone. With our team of experts by your side, you can change the trajectory of your life one step at a time.
Like any new activity or medical procedure, it helps to have a strong foundation of knowledge before treatment. Before you make an appointment for testosterone replacement therapy testing, it pays to know a little about testosterone itself.
When people hear the word "testosterone," they often associate it with overly aggressive or macho men. However, testosterone really has little impact on a man's masculinity, at least from a social standpoint. Rather, testosterone plays a much more important role in male development, from puberty to the end of life.
As the primary androgen, testosterone helps men develop typical male characteristics and is vital for the production of sperm. The pituitary gland and hypothalamus in the body control testosterone, and it helps men develop and maintain various functions such as:
As men age, they may experience lower levels of testosterone, also known as low T. This natural decline in testosterone can also be caused by drug abuse, obesity, prescribed medications, or testicle injuries. When testosterone levels decrease, it can affect the body's balance of testosterone and estrogen, leading to an increase in abdominal fat and higher levels of estrogen. This hormonal imbalance can lead to a variety of issues that, when left untreated, can affect your quality of life in several ways.
The most common low testosterone signs in males include the following:
If one or more of those symptoms are happening in your life right now, it could be because your body has a lack of testosterone. The only way to find out for certain is to have your testosterone levels tested at a qualified Sexual Wellness and Holistic Clinic, such as NV Medical Horizon West. If testing shows that you have low T, the next step in your recovery could be TRT in Horizon West, FL.
Some men may think to themselves, "I don't have the time or patience to undergo TRT in Horizon West, FL." While TRT treatments are quick, easy, and require no recovery time, we at NV Medical Horizon West understand that this type of therapy is not for everyone. Some men choose to rough it through this stage in their life, despite available solutions. While that is certainly an option, if you're considering this route, you should know that more is at risk than low libido and lack of motivation.
As frustrating as those symptoms can be, living with low testosterone often results in more serious issues that risk the health of your vital organs. If you're on the fence about bringing your testosterone levels back within normal range, keep these health risks in mind.
For those who have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes, it's possible that low testosterone levels could be a factor. Research has shown that men with low testosterone are more likely to develop diabetes as they age, and those with diabetes are also more likely to have low testosterone. Additionally, men with low T may struggle with insulin resistance. While testosterone replacement therapy won't cure diabetes, studies have suggested that men with healthy testosterone levels tend to have better blood sugar levels and a lower risk of obesity.
If a doctor has informed you that you have high blood pressure, you may be curious about its root cause. Could it be due to aging? Is it hereditary? Or is there another factor at play? Research has shown that men who have low levels of testosterone are more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases. When testosterone levels are low, red blood cell production is hindered, which can speed up the accumulation of plaque in your arteries. Over time, this plaque buildup can result in severe issues such as heart attacks and strokes.
Many men face the challenge of excess body fat as they age, which can be discouraging when you're trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Despite eating well and exercising regularly, stubborn fat around the waistline can be difficult to get rid of. However, it's important to note that low testosterone levels may be the underlying cause. Studies have shown a correlation between low T and obesity, as testosterone helps regulate metabolism by controlling insulin, glucose, and fat. The good news is that undergoing TRT in combination with proper diet and exercise can lead to weight loss and improved blood glucose and low-density cholesterol levels.
Anemia occurs when the body lacks or has dysfunctional red blood cells, resulting in reduced oxygen supply to organs. Men with low testosterone levels are at a higher risk of anemia since testosterone plays a role in healthy red blood cell production. A study conducted in 2009 revealed that older men with low T have five times more chances of being anemic compared to men with normal testosterone levels. Although testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is not a cure for anemia, it can help in the production of more red blood cells, which may prevent anemia.
To fully appreciate the advantages of testosterone replacement therapy from NV Medical Horizon West, it's crucial to grasp its mechanism. Testosterone was first synthesized in a laboratory in 1935 and has been prescribed to counteract low testosterone levels in clinical settings ever since. Over the last few decades, it has emerged as one of the most commonly prescribed medications in the US.
TRT works by restoring a healthy testosterone level in men who suffer from low T. Essentially, TRT is similar to insulin for people who have diabetes. The body lacks sufficient production of an essential hormone, and so requires an exogenous source to replace it - testosterone in this case. Although most men begin TRT after the age of 50, more men in their 30s and 40s are having their testosterone levels tested at wellness clinics like NV Medical Horizon West. If you're experiencing symptoms like ED but think you're too young for testosterone replacement therapy, it's worth having your T levels checked by a doctor.
As the name implies, TRT replaces the testosterone that your body is missing, so it can function as it should. Unlike some TRT clinics, however, our doctors and practitioners take a personalized, comprehensive approach to testosterone replacement therapy.
If you are experiencing symptoms that may indicate low testosterone levels, it is important to undergo a thorough evaluation, including a medical history and physical examination, as well as laboratory studies. After discussing the potential risks and benefits of testosterone therapy with your healthcare provider, a decision can be made about whether to proceed with treatment.
There are several methods for administering testosterone, such as a gel that is applied to the skin, injections, pellets that are placed under the skin, and a new oral pill that has recently become available. Once treatment begins, regular monitoring of your lab results is essential to ensure that the therapy is effective and to make any necessary adjustments based on additional factors. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and are interested in exploring testosterone therapy, please reach out to NV Medical Horizon West to schedule a private and confidential consultation with our Board-Certified Urologist.
One of the most common questions we get at NV Medical Horizon West is, "Why should I take TRT? Are the benefits really worth it?" In short, yes - when you and your doctor agree that TRT is right for you, the benefits give man men in the United States a new lease on life.
That's especially true if you've tried other treatments but haven't had any success. Do you really want to undergo invasive surgery or take addictive medication, only to mask the symptoms that you're experiencing? TRT represents a natural, non-invasive alternative without relying on pills or surgeries. With NV Medical Horizon West's team of compassionate practitioners and doctors by your side, you can experience the benefits for yourself first-hand.
Some of the biggest advantages of taking TRT include the following:
One of the most popular reasons that men turn to TRT is to enhance their libido and reclaim their sexual health. Research has shown that testosterone levels increase in response to sexual activity and arousal. It's generally accepted that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in sexual activity. However, as men age, they require more testosterone to maintain healthy erectile function and libido. For older men looking to reignite the fire with their partner, TRT is often a viable solution.
One of the most popular reasons that men turn to TRT is to enhance their libido and reclaim their sexual health. Research has shown that testosterone levels increase in response to sexual activity and arousal. It's generally accepted that men with higher testosterone levels are more likely to engage in sexual activity. However, as men age, they require more testosterAs men age and their testosterone levels decrease, their bone mineral density also decreases. This can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, which can negatively impact quality of life and athletic performance. However, research has shown that higher doses of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can help increase bone density. In fact, recent clinical trials have discovered that TRT can also increase hip and spinal bone density. Strong bones are essential for supporting organs and muscles, so maintaining bone density is crucial for overall health and well-being.one to maintain healthy erectile function and libido. For older men looking to reignite the fire with their partner, TRT is often a viable solution.
Maintaining a healthy heart is crucial for ensuring that your organs and muscles receive sufficient oxygen to function properly. Testosterone plays a key role in the production of red blood cells via the bone marrow. Insufficient levels of testosterone can result in various health issues for your muscles and organs, including cardiovascular problems that warrant attention.
However, a recent study involving more than 80,000 men revealed that individuals whose testosterone levels were brought into normal ranges were 36% less likely to suffer from a stroke. They were also 24% less likely to experience a heart attack. That's a big deal! These positive findings suggest that TRT in Horizon West, FL, can effectively promote heart and blood health.
Several studies have indicated that having higher levels of testosterone may lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, there is evidence that suggests a strong link between optimized testosterone levels and better memory, recall rate, and improved cognitive abilities.
Having lower levels of testosterone can negatively impact one's quality of life, as it can lead to symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and irritability. However, studies have shown that this may only be true for men with hypogonadism, as men who experience a natural decrease in testosterone over time did not show an increase in depression.
Additionally, males with hypogonadism reported improvements in mood and well-being, as well as reduced fatigue and irritability. Some research has even suggested that this treatment may be an effective form of anti-depressant therapy.
Aging doesn't have to mean a decline in your health and well-being - take control of your life with NV Horizon West to guide you every step of the way. Our Sexual Wellness and Holistic Clinic in Horizon West was founded to give men like you - who are suffering from low T - a better quality of life. When you trust our physicians, you can rest easy knowing that you're in good hands. All our TRT options are tailored to your individual needs and goals, ensuring a safe and effective experience without the need for harmful medications or surgeries.
When combined with custom counseling, regular exercise, and a healthy diet, fighting back against low T is easier than ever before. If you're looking to bridge the gap between an unsatisfying past life and a more vibrant future, TRT in Horizon West, FL, could be the solution for you.
Unlike other TRT clinics in Horizon West, we know that every man's body and wellness goals are unique. As such, we don't provide a "set it and forget it" experience - we focus on individualized attention and purpose-built plans. If you're a man who is serious about reclaiming your life from the symptoms of low testosterone, you're in the right place.
Patients choose NV Medical Horizon West because we:
If you're ready to recapture the vigor and vitality of your youth, it's never too late to start. But how will you know when it's time? Like most things in life, your body will let you know. If your body is telling you that change is needed, listen to it - contact our office today and take the next steps toward the life you're dreaming about.
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.