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Marshall approves construction bid for City Hall building

$4.89 million base bid just one part of $6 million-plus project

MARSHALL — Plans to renovate Marshall’s City Hall building will be moving forward after members of the Marshall City Council approved a construction bid Tuesday night. Council members voted to award a bid to apparent low bidder Brennan Companies of Mankato. Last week, Brennan submitted a base bid of $4.89 million.

However, council members including Glenn Bayerkohler emphasized that the full project would carry a higher price tag, of over $6 million. The total cost would include the construction bid and alternates, contingency funds, architect and engineering costs, asbestos removal costs, furniture and equipment costs, and the costs of renting and moving into temporary city offices during construction.

Both Bayerkohler and council member Russ Labat said they couldn’t support the renovation project at that cost.

“I think we’re spending millions more than we need to,” Bayerkohler said.

The current Municipal Building on Main Street dates back to the 1960s, and was originally a combined city office, court, police station and fire hall. Today, the building has issues ranging from a boiler at the end of its life to a lack of handicapped accessibility. Years of exposure to road salt and moisture in the old police and fire garage has also damaged some of the building’s concrete and rebar.

Plans to renovate the building would address all those issues, and lower City Hall’s main floor so that its public entrance is at street level.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, Barbara Midgarden Marks, of architectural firm Engan Associates, said the architects recommended the city approve Brennan’s $4.89 million base bid, plus five bid alternates. The alternates would include items like an emergency generator port and automatic entrances for the building.

With alternates added in, construction costs would come to about $5.03 million. With other costs like architect and engineering fees and contingency funds, costs would be about $6.13 million.

Engan Associates also estimated a probable cost of about $225,000 for furniture and equipment, which would bring the total to $6.36 million. Other costs associated with the renovations, Bayerkohler said, included removing hazardous materials like asbestos from City Hall, and relocating city staff to temporary offices during construction. On Tuesday the council was also considering a $138,000 lease with Minnesota State Colleges and Universities for temporary offices in the SMSU social sciences building.

Bayerkohler and Labat said they weren’t in favor of approving the bid, for cost reasons. Labat said Marshall taxpayers had problems with the city spending $6 million on renovations.

“I think we would be better off spending the money on a brand new building,” Labat said.

“Building new is also very expensive,” said council member James Lozinski. It would also take property off of the tax rolls and leave a vacant building downtown, he said.

Lozinski and Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes said at this point there are still uncertainties as to the final cost of the project. It was too soon to know what furniture and equipment costs would be, and the project might not require spending all the contingency funds.

Council member John DeCramer said the city has conducted three building studies on City Hall over the past 10 years.

“The end result of each of those studies was to stay downtown,” he said.

Council members voted 5-2 to approve Brennan’s construction bid and five alternates. Labat and Bayerkohler cast the votes against.

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