After an eight-month construction process, the Texas Department of Public Safety joined city and state officials at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 29 to officially welcome the state's first driver's license megacenter to Pflugerville.

At 24,840 square feet, the Austin-Pflugerville Mega Center at 900 Wells Branch Parkway is the fourth-largest driver's license office in the state, according to a statement from DPS. The megacenter includes 22 customer service stations staffed with 36 full-time employees as well as some new features for Texas residents.

Pflugerville Mayor Jeff Coleman, who spoke at the ceremony, called the project "a partnership" between the city and DPS. Coleman said he was impressed to meet Pflugerville residents already working at the new center.

"That was our goal," he said. "We were able to find a place for our citizens to have a job."

Coleman said he was excited to welcome the new facility because it would likely become an anchor for development in that area of town.

Floyd Akers, Pflugerville Community Development Corp. executive director, agreed with the mayor's assessment, noting the close proximity to I-35 and convenience of access for workers at Tech Ridge.

"There's going to be a lot of activity around this [facility]," Akers said. "We expect 600-700 trips daily to this office. We expect on the adjacent properties to see restaurants, convenience stores and other retail operations that typically follow those types of traffic numbers."

Akers said PCDC worked with DPS to bring the center to Pflugerville, part of a drive to bring jobs to the city.

"This facility is hiring local residents to staff and run it, and that's the idea of what we do," Akers said.

Funds for the center come from a 2012 measure passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature to help meet statewide demands for service. The Legislature approved $63 million to open six megacenters throughout the state, hire 266 employees, and purchase equipment and technology to improve customer service and efficiency in the state's driver's license system.

According to a statement from DPS, Pflugerville was selected based on a 2010 study commissioned by the agency to analyze future population and growth demands. DPS broke ground on the facility, located at the northeast corner of Wells Branch Parkway and Heatherwilde Boulevard, on Feb. 2.

Akers said the PCDC gave $112,000 to the developer, Development 2000 Inc., to help build the new facility. Development 2000 President Jerry Reed said from an investment standpoint, the government project was inherently secure.

"When we get the State of Texas on board with something like this, we know that we are going to get [a return], so our risk is much more below a normal project," Reed said. "So that works for us and our investors."

Reed said while not finalized, plans were under way to develop on land between the center and Heatherwilde Boulevard, bringing more retail and commercial options to Wells Branch Parkway.

Queuing system

Features of the new megacenter include a new queuing system which allows customers to reserve a spot in line without having to come to the office until it is their turn. Customers can access the queue using a smartphone or other Internet-accessible device.

"This is game-changing technology," said Cynthia Leon, chairwoman of the Texas Public Safety Commission, who spoke at the ceremony.

Leon said walk-in customers can check in at the kiosks, select the needed service and can opt to wait or leave until it is their turn. Once in the queue, customers can make adjustments to their time as needed, she said.

"The single most visible sign of dysfunction in government is the long lines wrapped around the driver's license offices," Leon said.

"We have seen our population increase significantly, and consequently we've seen the number of transactions at our driver's license office increase as well," Leon said. "[But] for some time though, we have not seen a corresponding increase in service and technology to meet this growing demand."

Because of funding initiatives such as the one provided by the Legislature in 2012, DPS is working to make visits to driver's license offices more efficient for customers, Leon said.

The megacenter in Pflugerville is the only one of its kind in Central Texas. Five more facilities are expected to be completed by the end of January—two in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, two in Houston and one in San Antonio.

DPS officials said more information about the new center, including how to access the queue, would be available Oct. 30 when the center officially opens for customers. Visit or call 424-2600 to find out more about driver's license and other DPS services.