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‘A nod to the old fire hall’

Unveiling of the new city hall front reveals elements of 1914 building

Photos by Deb Gau Masonry work at Marshall’s City Hall is now substantially complete, City Administrator Sharon Hanson said. Earlier this week, the new brick and contrasting accents could be seen without scaffolding and sheets of plastic covering them up.

MARSHALL — The scaffolding and plastic sheets are gone, and now people passing by on Marshall’s Main Street can better see what the renovated City Hall will look like. This week, new brick and stonework on the outside of the building were visible.

“It’s substantially complete,” Marshall City Administrator Sharon Hanson said of the masonry work on City Hall. There are still windows that need to be installed, and contrasting paneling is going up on other parts of the building’s front.

While it’s not visible from the street, construction work is also continuing to make progress inside the building, Hanson said. She said the inside of City Hall is no longer a hard-hat zone, and contractors have moved on to tasks like painting and installing electrical fixtures.

Hanson gave a progress update on City Hall construction work on Friday. The building renovations are part of a project that gutted the 1960s Marshall Municipal Building to make much-needed heating and accessibility updates, repair damaged concrete and reconfigure city offices to better meet current needs. Hanson said construction is still planned to be complete sometime in May.

With brick work on the outside of City Hall substantially finished, it’s easier to see the renovated building design, which has some elements calling back to Marshall’s 1914 city hall and fire station. A row of windows on the upper floor have decorative keystones similar to the ones in the old building. And when the project built a new elevator shaft in the front of the building, it was also designed to resemble part of the 1914 structure.

“The elevator shaft is kind of a nod to the old fire hall cupola, where the bell was,” Hanson said.

One unique part of City Hall’s new look is the building’s address, engraved up at the top of its facade. Typically, address numbers tend to be down at street level. But putting the address in a more prominent spot helps emphasize City Hall’s connection to the Marshall community, Hanson said. “We’re really proud that we’re on Main Street,” she said.

Inside City Hall, drywall work is complete, and painting and floor tiling work is in progress, Hanson said. At the same time, crews are working on installing electrical and HVAC fixtures, as well as ceiling tiles.

Hanson said Brennan Construction and contractors on the City Hall Project have done a great job at helping the work stay close to its original schedule. Last spring, when the former Marshall Hotel building was torn down and it was discovered that one wall of City Hall wasn’t square, the project faced a potential setback. But even with the extra work it took to tear out and replace the wall, Hanson said, Brennan “has really been able to pivot and keep construction relatively on track.”

It may be June before city offices move back into City Hall, however. Hanson said that when the finished building is turned over to the city, they will do a building review before moving. Getting city staff back into City Hall will be “a process,” because there will be new furniture and new technology infrastructure to work with, she said.

Hanson said it will be exciting to have city staff back together in one building. COVID-19 safety is still a concern, she said, “But we think we can do that safely.”

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