PARKERSBURG- Things got off to a good start Monday as the new regional office of the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles opened in south Parkersburg.
Officials and patrons were happy with how orderly everything was going.
''It has gone very smooth,'' said Pete Lake, director of Regional Office and Call Center Services for the DMV. ''We have been open since 8:30 a.m. for business.
Photos by Brett Dunlap
People came out Monday to the first day of operation for the new Department of Moter Vehicles facility, at 627 Lubeck Ave. in Parkersburg.
''Customer flow has been a little lighter than expected, but everyone has been processed and it has been going quite well.''
Officials did not have an exact count of the number of people served Monday, but the facility remained busy throughout the day.
''It was not as heavy as I thought it would be, being the first of the month,'' Lake said. ''There have still been quite a few.''
The new facility was scheduled to open Wednesday, Oct. 3 after it was reported officials would need a week-and-a-half to get the systems in place and operational from the temporary location at the National College in the Park Shopping Center that closed Sept. 21.
However, with crews "working around the clock through the weekend," everything was in place and operating in time to be open Monday.
''We were able to complete everything to get the office operational two days early for the citizens of Wood County and the surrounding counties,'' Lake said. ''Everything has gone off like clockwork.''
The 9,000-square-foot facility, at 627 Lubeck Ave., includes a motorcycle-testing area, driver's license testing with the written and computer exams and the driving course testing, driver's license renewals and issuance, title work, and a video-conferencing room.
''We are now able to do all of that,'' Lake said. ''It is everything being offered at a full-service DMV regional office.''
People got in line at the informational desk. From there, depending on what they needed, they were directed where to go. DMV personnel asked people what they were there for and made sure they had proper paperwork and forms before moving them on.
''This way they don't have to wait and then find out they didn't have something they needed,'' Lake said.
Many patrons were pleased with how things went Monday.
''Everything seems to be moving pretty well and they are being pretty efficient,'' said Tom O'Donohue of Williamstown. ''It is a nice new building.
''It is certainly a lot nicer than the other facilities have been over the years.''
Woody Belknap of Parkersburg thought the new building had a lot more space and there seemed to be enough workers to handle people's concerns and business.
When he first came in through the front door, Belknap didn't know where to go. However, a DMV employee quickly asked him why he was there, determined what he needed and directed him where he needed to go.
''That happened within the first 15 seconds of coming into the building,'' he said. ''I didn't have to wait at all. I was really impressed.''
Belknap said he missed having a drive-thru that was available at other locations. He used to be able to do a lot of business at a drive-thru without getting out of his car. He hopes the state will consider something like that for the new location.
''They certainly have enough room,'' he said.
A grand-opening ceremony will be held today at 4 p.m. at the facility. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, DMV Commissioner Joe Miller and local and state dignitaries are expected to appear.
Officials are planning to unveil the sesquicentennial license plate and the veterans' designation on the driver's license.
The new DMV facility is completely operational and serving the public Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.