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Why state wants to replace Driver Services building in Gainesville
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Customers walk into the Department of Driver Services on Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

A new, larger Georgia Department of Driver Services center could be open in Gainesville by October 2019.

The brick, nearly 4,000-square-foot building at 1010 Aviation Blvd. will be replaced by a 10,000-square-foot structure, state officials announced at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 31.

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A rendering shows the Department of Driver Services customer licensing center planned in Gainesville.

A rising population and higher demand for more people to acquire commercial driver's licenses is putting “a good bit of stress on the facility that is here,” Gov. Nathan Deal said.

Some 4,800 such commercial driver's licenses, as well as 73,000 other driver's licenses and ID cards were issued in Gainesville last fiscal year, he said.

In 2010-11, the center, which began operating in 1991, was serving about 55,000 people per year, Driver Services Commissioner Spencer Moore said.

“The last two years, we’ve served more than 80,000 people annually,” he said. “That just shows this is a growing community.”

The new building, costing $3.5 million, will have 18 customer service counters — compared to 10 in the current building. Also, the lobby will be able to seat 75.

The old center will be used until the new building is up and running, then it will be torn down, Moore said.

Also, a new commercial vehicle testing course will be added to the property, which is off Queen City Parkway/Ga. 60 and near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport.

Deal spoke about the rising need for truck drivers, especially stemming from the success of the Port of Savannah, which is undergoing a deepening to make room for larger cargo ships.