GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Many people have dealt with long lines and cramped space when trying to get a license or ID at the Public Safety Office in Pascagoula. Now, a larger, more modern building is open in Gautier and it's ready to serve customers.
With the cut of a ribbon Tuesday, the new Mississippi Department of Public Safety Driver's License Station opened for business on Highway 57. It's a big change from the 40-year-old deteriorating office in Pascagoula.
"We have needed this for a long time because the Pascagoula office was so rundown," a customer said.
"If it rained very hard or we had a bad storm come through, we had four or five inches in the building. We had to make sure the machines were off the ground, and we actually had cinder blocks under our testing stations to keep the water from getting in our testers," Mississippi Highway Patrolman Jay Kelly said.
The new building is run by Mississippi Highway Patrol and almost twice the size of the old one. There's a spacious waiting area, separate testing rooms and more customer service windows to improve service.
"I was astonished. After walking in the one in Pascagoula and walking in the one here, it was amazing. It is great," a customer said.
Jackson County Supervisors helped lead on the project, paying $254,000 for the facility.
"It is a modern facility that has all the updated computer equipment. You can walk in and get your picture taken, and do everything you got to do at a driver's license station and walk out," Supervisor John McKay said.
This office is also more centrally located, so people on the west and east parts of the county can find it easier.
"We got this property donated from the Coca Cola Plant several years ago," McKay said.
The building is named in honor of State Commissioner of Public Safety Albert Santa Cruz, who has served nearly four decades in law enforcement.