The Bethel village council has unofficially narrowed their choice of engineers for the construction of the new municipal building. After a presentation by McGill Smith Punshon, Inc. at the Feb. 26 meeting, the council made a decision to narrow the field from five to two.
McGill Smith Punshon representative Randy Merrill presented his company to the village.
“Our roots really run deep in Bethel,” said Merrill. “Not only am I from Bethel, but over our history, we’ve employed over 55 people within an eight mile radius of Bethel. Not only that, but four of our owners are from Bethel. I can’t tell you how excited I am to do this. This project means a lot to us.”
Previous projects described included the Union Township Public Library. Merrill said that community involvement is “crucial” to the process, noting that it is the community that is left to utilize the product once the construction is completed.
After the presentation, councilman Tim Cherry said that he hoped to begin the decision making process, as construction was hoped to begin by April.
"I'll open this up to the rest of council, are there any thoughts or leanings in one direction?" asked Cherry. "To get this under way we'll have to make a decision soon."
"I don't think we've seen anybody who can't do the job for us," responded councilman John Swarthout. "I think that most of them have a good amount of experience in the field. This will be a tough call."
Councilman Gary Hutchinson said that the most recent presentation had muddied the water somewhat for him.
"The people we had tonight made the decision for me harder," said Hutchinson. "I had my leanings, but the people tonight impressed me more than I thought they would."
Hutchinson said that, previously, his choice had been for K4/Stine, but admitted to liking McGill Smith Punshon. That sentiment was largely echoed by the rest of the council.
"If we're going to cut the list in half, how about K4 and the ones we saw tonight?" said Mayor Travis Dotson.
The council discussed the possibility of hiring a retired local engineer to oversee the village's interests on the job site.