New Department of Public Safety facility still looking for building in Madison County

By NIKKI ROWELL,

Officials from Madison County and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) are still working toward finding suitable accommodations for a new DPS facility.

The new location would house driver’s license facilities. The closest ones in the area are in Jackson or Pearl. The new facility will help with the long wait times at those two facilities.

County Administrator Shelton Vance said they have their eyes on property located at 1633 West Peace Street in Canton, but nothing has been finalized.

They are still working with DPS to determine the exact needs of the building.

“Renovation versus construction is part of our analysis,” Vance said.

The building currently located on that property is roughly 60 years old, so it presents several costly problems.

“If I recall correctly, the building that is currently on the site is approximately 60 years old,” Vance said. “There are significant foundation problems, and we expect that any renovation of this building will require asbestos abatement.”

Vance said that prior to use, the building’s mechanical systems will need to be replaced and multiple access modifications will need to be made to comply with ADA requirements.

Officials are also exploring the possibility of constructing a new building.

“We are evaluating the costs associated with both efforts – renovation and a new building.  After completing the needs analysis, we will be finalizing cost estimates,” Vance said.

When the new facility is up and running, it could help take some of the pressure off the DPS district headquarters or the facility in Pearl.

“It’s going to help,” Cpt. Jay Kelly said of the overflow at the other offices. “Most of the people up that way are traveling down to our district headquarters or to Pearl, which are basically the closest two. So, in the Jackson metro area, offices are always extremely busy.”

Kelly said the county and DPS still have details to work out beyond the location, such as what services to provide.

“The primary purpose is for issuance and renewal of licenses,” Vance previously told the Sun. “There has been discussion of including a commercial license site, but no decision has been made regarding this service.”

DPS once operated a Canton testing location.

“DPS and Madison County were both aware of the service void that existed, and Madison County offered to host a DPS testing location in a county building,” Vance has said. “It will also provide services to not only Madison County, but also surrounding areas as well.”

Depending on the services provided, the facility will bring in people from other areas.

Kelly said that if the facility provides commercial license testing, then it could attract people from further away.

Once building plans are solidified, then the details can be worked out, such as the number of workers needed and what services will be offered.

 

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