Don Godbey envisions a day when state residents won't have to drive more than 30 miles to register their car or renew a driver's license. That vision will be more than halfway to fruition this summer when the newest regional Department of Motor Vehicles office -- No. 13 -- opens in downtown Elkins.
Currently, residents in Randolph County must drive much farther than 30 miles to visit the DMV. Moorefield in Hardy County and Bridge-port have the nearest regional offices, although that will change when DMV staff moves into their new digs in July.
"I think we're making very good progress with the renovations," said Godbey, director of regional office operations for the DMV.
DMV staff will move into an existing building located on Harrison Avenue in downtown Elkins that also houses the West Virginia Bureau of Employment Programs. The DMV will get about 6,000 square feet on the first floor of the building, he said.
All basic functions of the department will be available at the regional office, Godbey said. The only thing that regional staff cannot handle is reinstatement of a revoked driver's license, which must be handled in Charleston at DMVheadquarters.
"Our mission is to get as many DMV services out there and available to the citizens as much as we can," he said. "We try to locate offices to serve the greatest number of citizens that we can. The regional offices at Elkins and Morgantown are the keys to the program because of the volume of business done in Bridgeport. That office has consistently done more than projected, and we're hoping that the activity will even itself out among the three areas rather than center in Bridgeport."
Having more regional offices in North Central West Virginia is important to the DMV because of the number of colleges throughout the area, Godbey said. Because of the colleges, there are many people every few months from out of state who need to transfer licenses or obtain some kind of non-driving identification.
The new DMV office will employee 11 -- one manager, one supervisor, six customer service representatives and three driver examiners.
Godbey was unsure how much the project to remodel the building will cost, because the DMV does not handle that aspect of the project.
"The DMV enters into this with the position that we look for a place to lease, we don't look to build," he said. "It's up to the property owner to provide suitable facilities for us."
The DMV will pay rent of $9.75 per square foot, he said.
In addition to the main DMV headquarters, which Godbey said still does a good bit of business, there are 12 regional offices across the state. Regional offices are:
Kanawha City in Kanawha County, Winfield in Putnam County, Martinsburg in Berkeley County, Huntington in Cabell County, Moundsville in Marshall County, Logan in Logan County, Princeton in Mercer County, Parkersburg in Wood County, Point Pleasant in Mason County, Moorefield in Hardy County, Morgantown and Bridgeport.
Godbey said a 14th office, which will be combined with a West Virginia State Police detachment, is scheduled to open in October in Beckley in Raleigh County.