Janesville73.7°

DMV center construction to be done in January

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
December 22, 2007
— It’s a waiting game both inside and outside the local Division of Motor Vehicles center.

Staff, like customers, are waiting anxiously for the completion of the expansion and remodeling project that started July 2 on the 22-year-old building at 645 S. Wright Road.


The nearly half-a-million dollar project that was supposed to be done in October continues.


“We’re looking to be done by the end of January,’’ said Marcia Traska, supervisor.


“The goal is to get the front doors open by Jan. 2,” she said.


Delays were caused primarily because of weather and late deliveries, Traska said.


Nearly 22 inches of rain fell in the city between July 1 and Sept. 30, according to Gazette weather records.


“We had to be careful in laying the foundation correctly,” Traska said of the center that is built like an earth home with no basement.


Brickwork on the exterior of the building also was a slow process due to inclement weather.


“We removed brick from the front wall, added new foundation and had to rebrick. It took time with the rain,” Traska said.


Commercial products such as doors, door locks and lighting weren’t received on time, so it created a domino affect, Traska said.


“Things go in in a certain order. So with a delay, we had to wait for those things to arrive and get installed before we could move forward,” she said.


Another problem occurred when construction workers hit a gas line that wasn’t marked properly, Traska said.


“We couldn’t proceed until repairs were made,” she said.


And because the center has remained open to customers throughout construction, some projects could be done only on evenings or weekends such as painting, pouring concrete and installing drywall.


“We did as much as we could, but some work can’t take place when customers are inside,’’ Traska said.


On at least one occasion, Traska said workers were sent home because the odor during wood staining was too strong, even with fans ventilating the area.


The intent of the remodeling and 1,366-square-foot addition to the 4,048-square-foot building is to better serve the needs of customers, Traska said.


That will happen with the new take-a-number system, which allows people to sit and wait instead of stand in a serpentine line.


Each customer will get a ticket, the correct forms to fill out, then he or she can sit while waiting to be called to a service window.


The project was to make the building much more customer and environmentally friendly, Traska said.


During construction, six service windows were reduced to five. And during the week of Jan. 6, the number of service windows will be reduced to four when the driver’s license photo area will be moved to the opposite end of the service counter.


“We worked really hard to limit the inconveniences,” she said.


During the week of Jan. 13, the numbering system will be installed, but the maze still will be in place.


“We want a better situation—nicer, cleaner, brighter and state-of-the-art (center)—for staff and customers,” Traska said.


When done, she said, “It will be better, safer and faster.”


DMV OPTIONS

To avoid construction noise and dust at the Janesville service center, customers can visit other full-service Division of Motor Vehicle locations:


Elkhorn—835 S. Lincoln St., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m.


Beloit—ShopKo Plaza, 2727 Prairie Ave., Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.


Madison east—2001 Bartillion Drive, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m.


Madison west—4802 Sheboygan Ave. (Hill Farms), Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.; Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.


Information about other service centers is available at www.dot.wisconsin.gov.
New building features

-- A larger entrance with a bigger overhang facing east instead of the south.


-- Digital/“door-bell” display showing the number called at the window and a board on each side of the service windows showing what number will be served next so customers will be ready when called.


-- Rubberized flooring, instead of carpet, which wears better, is safer and easier on standing customers.


-- A conference room up front instead of behind the service counter.


-- A new unisex bathroom.


-- More than a dozen new chairs and new form tables, where the maze used to be formed.


-- A new cooling and heating system that has three furnaces.



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