May 2022 | Renovating the Home of the JLC

The Columbia Center is a beautiful, historical building that serves as the headquarters to the Junior League of Cincinnati. The Junior League moved into the Columbia Center on June 25, 1988. Through the generosity of our members and supporters, funds from the Centennial Campaign allowed us to explore opportunities for renovating our beloved building, which began in July of 2020. These updates were revealed in the building as we began to meet in person following the pandemic, including new paint, new carpet, furniture and fixtures. From meeting spaces to the reception area, to new kitchen accommodations, this facelift shows our love and care for this special space. Saralou Durham, Sustainer and Board Member, who led the campaign to raise funds to purchase Columbia Center in the 1980, said “I was thrilled to see the refurbishment that was done to make all of the rooms function even better. Adding in the meeting rooms and archive space in the basement was so needed. This will help truly utilize the entire building.”

Jeri Duncan, chair of the Columbia Center committee, has been a member of the Junior League since 2009 and has served across four Leagues. She has a passion for internal operations and the women of the Junior League. Creating a comfortable and updated space for the woman of the League was a central focus of the renovation.

The purpose of the renovation was to create a multipurpose space that will serve the women of the Junior League and also improve our rentable event spaces for the community. The basement has undergone a major makeover, including a brand new catering kitchen for hosting events and an updated kitchenette outside the auditorium upstairs. This allows caterers to seamlessly support events upstairs. Furnished meeting rooms have been added in the basement as well. The meeting rooms upstairs can now be converted in small or large spaces with retractable walls and foldable tables to suit the various needs of our committees and community.

Next year the focus of the Columbia Center Committee will be to create a marketing plan to inform the community that it is available for use. The Junior League will use revenue that is made through the rented spaces to further support the League and its mission Currently spaces are being advertised on the Junior League website, you can find more information on the Columbia Center Venue Rental page.

Jeri thinks, “the best part of this renovation are the little gems that add versatility and functionality to the Columbia Center.” The committee has worked hard to understand the needs of our building and community. As you walk down the original marble staircase from 1904, remember that the Columbia Center is the foundation of our members and this renovation will enhance the membership experience and rental potential moving into our next one-hundred years.

On Tuesday, May 17th, Jeri Duncan and Kari Williamson, Chairs of the Columbia Center committee, hosted the official ribbon cutting ceremony and reception for JLC members and community partners to experience the newly updated spaces throughout the building. President Tara Mosley welcomed guests and Jeri did the honors of cutting the ribbon. The Junior League is grateful that our Centennial campaign donors and Junior League members have invested in our home for the coming years.