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City Hall on target

Marshall city staff say renovation work is progressing, under budget

Marshall building official Ray Henriksen led a tour through the renovation work going on at City Hall on Main Street. The area behind Henriksen will become city administrative offices, which are being moved to the building’s second floor. A row of windows facing Main Street will look in on conference rooms, and help bring natural light into the building, he said.

MARSHALL — The demolition of the former Marshall Hotel building on Main Street may have had some unexpected effects — like the need to rebuild one wall of City Hall. But even with the work going on next door, renovations at City Hall are on track, Marshall city staff said this week.

The plan is still for city offices to move back into City Hall in May, said Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson.

“Even with the challenges we had, we’re pretty proud of this building,” Hanson said.

As of Tuesday, the City Hall project was doing well budget-wise, said Annette Storm, director of administrative services for the city of Marshall. Actual costs for renovation, temporary relocation to SMSU, equipment and architect fees were around $6.9 million, compared to a budgeted $7.22 million. The main unknown at this point is furniture costs for the renovated City Hall, Storm said.

Ray Henriksen, chief building official for the city of Marshall, led a tour of the construction site downtown earlier this week. Major work to replace the concrete slabs for the basement and first floor of City Hall is complete, and the building is enclosed. Masonry work on the back side of City Hall was finished, and was about half done on the east wall. Work inside the building has progressed to the point where crews are currently putting in sheetrock. Henriksen said the sheetrock work was about 85% complete on the main floor of City Hall, and about 75% complete on the upper floor.

The building’s boiler and heating systems, which were failing, have been replaced, Henriksen said.

The renovations at City Hall will rearrange city offices based, based on which ones interact with the public most. A former garage area will become the city council meeting chambers and public meeting space. City offices like Marshall Community Services and the building department will be located on the main floor, while administrative, finance and assessing offices will be on the upper floor.

Henriksen said the renovations are also adding security updates for the city offices, and a new, larger elevator.

Although demolition of the vacant hotel building next door was a separate project from the City Hall renovations, it did have one wild card in store for the project. When the hotel building came down, it was revealed that one wall of City Hall was not square — the building was several inches wider at one end than the other. In September, the city council opted to fix the error by tearing out and rebuilding the wall.

“It gave us an opportunity to make a wrong right,” said Marshall City Council member James Lozinski.

The original estimated cost of replacing the wall was $577,000, Lozinski said. However, by changing some parts of the wall design like window placement and materials, “We shaved $150,000 off of that,” Lozinski said.

Lozinski said city staff like Henriksen and plans examiner Ilya Gutman have done a lot of work with project contractors that has helped reduce costs on the City Hall renovations and wall rebuilding.

“This will have a zero levy impact,” Lozinski said of the City Hall renovations.

Hanson and Storm said the city used $750,000 from reserve funds to cover up-front costs for the architects. The city also took out a $6.5 million bond for the project, but the bond will be repaid using existing city revenue sources, including revenues from the municipal liquor store.

It hasn’t yet been decided what will happen in the space vacated by the former Marshall Hotel. Hanson said the city wants to get public feedback on how the site should be used, although there may be also some parking spaces and greenery put in.

The city had hoped the old hotel property could be redeveloped into business or apartment space, and had been in discussions with a couple of potential developers in 2019 and 2020, Hanson said. Neither proposal worked out, she said — in one case, because of a lack of available parking space. When extensive water damage was found in the hotel building last February, the city decided to demolish it.

Prior to being acquired by the city, the long-vacant hotel had been declared a hazardous building by the state fire marshal’s office.

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