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City council approves changes to City Hall design

MARSHALL — The demolition of a former hotel on Main Street has resulted in a lot of surprises for the city of Marshall — and some of those surprises will have an impact on the renovation project underway at City Hall. On Tuesday the Marshall City Council approved changes to the project that are meant to reduce the costs of rebuilding city hall’s southeast wall. The changes will add in areas of a less expensive stucco-like finish instead of brick.

Council members approved the changes, although it’s not known yet exactly how much it will cost. Rebuilding the southeast wall, which used to be up against the former Marshall Hotel building, would cost more than $570,000, said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson. However, with changes like using less masonry, the city could reduce the cost by about $60,000. Other deductions, from foundation and ground work on the hotel demolition project, could also be possible, she said.

The city hall project has been through a few twists and turns so far, thanks to the old hotel property. As a result, “Now we are coming upon a larger change order,” Hanson told council members.

The city hadn’t anticipated tearing the hotel building down, but when renovation work started next door, extensive water damage was revealed. After the hotel was demolished this spring, it left questions as to what should be done with the exposed southeast side of city hall. The council opted to rebuild the southeast wall after it was also found that city hall was originally built several inches narrower at one end than the other.

Hanson said members of the city hall building committee met to discuss ways to lower the cost of rebuilding the wall, and they also got feedback from downtown business owners. The council would need to make a final decision on how to proceed.

“They really will need a decision tonight,” both because colder weather is coming up soon, and because building materials would need to be ordered, Hanson said.

The plan the committee was recommending was to replace some of the outside finish of the building with a less expensive option. Instead of brick, some parts of city hall would have an exterior finish and insulation system (EFIS) instead. EFIS is like a kind of synthetic stucco. Council member James Lozinski said a good example of what an EFIS finish looked like was the outside of the Sleep Inn in Marshall.

The recommended plan would be to have brick finish on the front of City Hall and part of the southeast wall. The part of the wall closer to the back alley could have an EFIS finish, and so could the back side of the building.

Council members voted 6-1 to approve the change orders. While the full cost of the change orders wasn’t known yet, they would include change orders of about $111,000 for demolition of the southeast wall, and about $6,500 for foundation and earth work.

Council member Glenn Bayerkohler cast the vote against the change orders.

While the change orders they were faced with was substantial, council members said there was a lot the city didn’t know when starting the building project. City Hall was built in the 1960s, and the hotel building and the Mainstay Cafe building on the other side of it were even older. All three buildings shared walls and foundations.

“We were fixing three buildings with what they were hiding under there,” said council member Craig Schafer.

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