Committee reviews firms for Marshall city hall renovation

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson explained the review process for architectural firms being considered to renovate Marshall’s city hall building. A city building committee heard presentations from three different firms on Thursday.

MARSHALL — Proposals to renovate or replace Marshall’s aging city hall building took an important step forward Thursday. After about five hours of presentations and review, members of a municipal building committee voted to recommend an architectural firm for the job to the Marshall City Council.

Committee members voted to recommend Engan Associates, of Willmar. Engan Associates was one of three firms that made presentations to the committee, along with TSP, of Sioux Falls, and CTS Group, of St. Louis, Missouri.

Each of the three firms talked about their services and experience, and what the design and building process of working on the Marshall Municipal Building would be like. CTS Group also had a different approach to the other two presenting firms. Presenter Joe Henn explained CTS was a construction firm employing engineers and architects, rather than an architectural firm.

Candidates also discussed possible options for the building, ranging from renovating city hall and part or all of the former Marshall Hotel property next door, to demolishing both and constructing a new building in the same location. Representatives from Engan Associates said building new was an option that would address the problem of having floor levels that don’t match up across the existing buildings.

After hearing presentations from each firm, building committee members ranked their top choices. City council member John DeCramer and Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson explained that the group’s focus should be on choosing the right candidate for the city hall project — they weren’t required to go with the lowest-cost proposal.

“We want to be right in what we do,” DeCramer said.

The committee didn’t even get information about the costs of the three proposals during the presentations. Each of the three firms submitted that information in sealed envelopes.

“The intent is, if there’s clearly a preferred presentation, we open that one and see if it’s appropriate,” Olson said. Olson said the group might not open all the envelopes during deliberation.

City council member Glenn Bayerkohler proposed opening all three envelopes.

“I would assume all three of these firms are qualified to do the job,” he said. Having an idea of their cost could help the group choose a top candidate. “Cost is not the only consideration, but it is a big one.”

The committee opened financial envelopes from TSP and Engan Associates, as they were closely ranked by the group. The two cost proposals, presented as percentages of construction cost, were also very close, group members found. TSP’s proposed cost would be 7.5 percent of construction cost, and Engan Associates’ would be 7.14 percent of construction cost, they said.

Committee members voted to recommend Engan Associates to the city council, as the group’s top-ranked choice.