LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles announced plans to relocate the Lafayette BMV branch to a larger location in the same strip mall as the current one.
The BMV will be opening a larger BMV Connect Center on Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2022, at 2200 Elmwood Ave., Suite A6, Lafayette.
Joe Hoage, the BMV Commissioner, first discussed the plans of the BMV Connect Center at a public hearing held in October with residents of West Lafayette, who were hoping to convince the BMV to keep the West Lafayette branch open. The BMV has since decided to close the location down.
In that meeting, Hoage described that the new BMV Connect Center will be almost twice the size of the original building, doubling the number of services available at the current location, doubling the number of testing stations and adding seven additional customer service stations.
“The current Lafayette branch is about 600 square feet, the new Lafayette branch will be about 1200 square feet, it’s almost double the size. In BMV lingo what we would call these are ‘connect centers’ and these are something that we started to use back in 2016 in Fort Wayne. And we moved to use that back in Indianapolis as well,” Hoage said at the Oct. meeting.
“What’s a connect center? Well, it’s a BMV branch, obviously, it’s a little bigger BMV branch.”
The BMV connect center will be comprised of two sections. In the first section, as people walk into the center, they will be greeted by three in-wall BMV Connect kiosks.
These kiosks will be available to the public as 24-hour self-service terminals, where customers can use kiosks to conduct several BMV transactions, like renewing their registration and driver’s licenses, and ordering their driver’s record to name a few. During open business hours, the BMV branch will have a worker present to help customers resolve any issue that may arise, according to Hoage.
“Those three kiosks, that part of the branch. That is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So, if you’re a night shift person, get off late, and you don’t want to make a rush to the branch, you can at Sunday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon or Tuesday at 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Hoage at the meeting.
The second section of the BMV Connect Center is where people will find the normal BMV branch facility. The new facility will have 20 knowledge exam stations, 23 customer service representative stations and a large training center for new hires to learn, according to Hoage.
The final day at the location will be Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, the same day that the West Lafayette branch is set to have its final day, according to the press release.
“Our team has worked closely with Senator Spencer Deery and Purdue University officials over the past several weeks to ensure students and area residents have support and access to perform transactions,” Hoage explained in the press release.
“The collaboration has resulted in a multifaceted plan that will adapt to meet the needs of the population being served and most specifically focus on the student population.”
With the closure of the West Lafayette branch, which was announced in November, students and residents of West Lafayette have been concerned about the ease of accessibility to use the BMV services.
At the October meeting, people expressed their concerns about students' need to take public transit to get to the Lafayette branch as well as the concern many had regarding services needed for international students at the Lafayette branch.
The BMV took those concerns into account and will be offering additional training for branch associates to support the needs of foreign nationals. The training will occur in early 2023 and again in the summer as a refresher for associates who work in the university community.
The BMV will also hold special events on Purdue’s campus aimed at helping the international community with the BMV mobile branch.
The mobile branch will be staffed by BMV associates who are trained and conduct BMV transactions from the convenience of campus.
The BMV will also be present at student fairs and special events in hopes of providing any education on required documentation for students in need of help.
In regards to the BMV Connect Kiosk in West Lafayette, which will be replacing the West Lafayette branch, the placement of a BMV Connect Kiosk location has not been determined.
"While nothing will fully take away the sting of the loss of a BMV branch, the BMV's leaders have met with me multiple times to consider the concerns I've heard from residents," Deery said in the press release.
"We've explored ways the new branch can best meet the needs of Tippecanoe County, and I am encouraged by their responsiveness and obvious desire to maximize the new branch's impact. Residents should continue to communicate with the BMV to make sure our community’s needs are met."
Noe Padilla is a reporter for the Journal & Courier. Email him at Npadilla@jconline.com and follow him on Twitter at 1NoePadilla.
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: BMV announces relocation of new, larger Lafayette branch