Henry moves forward with DMVS plans

By April Avison

Henry County commissioners awarded a contract last week for architectural services for a proposed motor vehicle testing center.

Commissioners did not solicit bids but opted to award the $117,675 design project to Lindsay, Pope, Brayfield and Associates.

"To me, I believe this decision is very sound," said County Manager Linda Angus. "It will add two or three months but I think (if we went out for bid) we would come up with the same result."

Commissioners previously approved plans to begin looking for a site, probably in the south end of the county, at which to locate a Department of Motor Vehicle Safety facility. The project will cost the county about $2.5 million over 10 years, but the DMVS will staff and equip the building.

Angus said in a previous meeting that the proposal is for a 10,000-square-foot building, although the DMVS is expecting to use only 6,000 square feet at first. The county is searching for a five-acre site, expected to cost about $70,000 to $80,000 an acre.

Commissioner Warren Holder said the experience level of the firm selected for design work is a key component as to why it was chosen for the job.

"This particular firm recently designed Gwinett's (facility) and has done others across the state," Holder said. "They do design, survey, engineering and management ? I feel like it's a good price, and the state said they were comfortable with this firm."

Henry County Commission Chairman Leland Maddox expressed a desire to discuss the price of the design work with Lindsay, Pope, Brayfield and Associates.

"I think there can be some negotiation," Maddox said. "Without any question, I'd like to have an opportunity to talk to them."

Henry County will ultimately be responsible for the structure once it is built. It will offer license renewals, written and road tests, reinstatements and other services for drivers in Henry, Butts, Spalding and Fayette counties. Clayton County residents may also turn to the site in Henry, as there is talk of closing the DMVS facility in Forest Park.

Holder has said a DMVS office is badly needed in Henry County, as the county's only license-renewal office closed in August. Henry County has more than 10,000 licensed drivers.

The plans for the Henry facility are still in the very early stages and if it happens it will be at least a year before it opens, according to DMVS spokeswoman Susan Sports.