Marshall Council approves architect for city hall project

Photo by Deb Gau Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson summarized the selection process for an architectural firm to work on renovations at Marshall’s city hall.

MARSHALL — A recommendation for an architect to renovate or rebuild Marshall’s city hall building got official approval from the Marshall City Council on Tuesday night.

However, that doesn’t mean the city has a definite plan for a building project yet. City staff and council members said those details will come back to the council in the future.

A building committee made up of Marshall city staff, community members and council members heard presentations from three architectural or engineering firms last week. Out of the three firms, the committee recommended a proposal by Engan Associates, of Willmar.

Marshall Public Works Director Glenn Olson said the committee reviewed the three firms based on their presentations and were only to open the financial part of the proposals for the group’s top choice, or choices that were closely ranked by the group.

“In this case, there were two close performers,” Olson said. Engan Associates turned out to be not only the committee’s first choice, but the lower-cost proposal of the two they looked at. Engan Associates’ financial proposal included fees broken down by phases of project construction. The fee for the pre-design phase was a lump sum of $49,000. Additional fees were 4.75 percent of construction costs for design development, 1.4 percent of construction costs for construction observation, and .01 percent of construction costs for close-out documents and warranty work.

Using a hypothetical project cost estimate, committee members calculated that Engan Associates’ proposal would be about $20,000 cheaper than their second choice’s proposal, Council member Glenn Bayerkohler said.

Engan Associates’ presentation discussed tearing down the current Marshall Muncipal Building on Main Street, as well as the vacant Marshall Hotel next door, and building a new city hall. However, council member and building committee member John DeCramer said, that didn’t mean the city had decided to go through with building a new city hall, as opposed to renovating the existing building.

The city council voted unanimously to approve the recommendation to hire Engan Associates for the city hall project. But Bayerkohler, who also served on the building committee, did have some critiques of the selection process.

“I was disappointed we didn’t open all three bids,” to be able to compare costs, Bayerkohler said. Bayerkohler also said he was concerned that city employees made up six members of the 11-person building committee choosing an architect.

“That seems like a lot of power to put on city staff,” he said. Bayerkohler recommended that the ratio of staff to Marshall community members change in future committees.