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PennDOT investigated suspected issue at Rockview DMV for more than a month

adrey@centredaily.com

Every person who traveled Friday to the Rockview DMV was met with the same fate — a state Department of Transportation employee turning them away to the Lewistown and Selinsgrove locations.

The DMV facility closed without warning Thursday, news that spread quickly on social media and sparked curiosity about why services in Centre County would be abruptly shut down.

The answer has something to do with air quality and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning in the building, said Alexis Campbell, PennDOT community relations coordinator.

She said, though, that they “don’t know exactly what it is.”

PennDOT has estimated a three-week closure, but it could be longer as they learn more about the issue in the building, Campbell said.

“There’s some sort of HVAC issue we’ve been dealing with,” Campbell said. “Rather than potentially put customers, our employees and others in harm’s way we closed the site. It is about being safe, and this seemed like the best and safest option.”

Warning signs emerged more than a month ago when employees said their throats felt dry and sore, prompting PennDOT to investigate the situation. Humidifiers were utilized in the facility, and the carpets and vents were cleaned, Campbell said.

“We tried to eliminate anything that may have caused this,” she said. “We had an air quality test on Feb. 8, and the results were fine but employees still had dry throats. We had another air quality test on Feb. 21. We received the results (Thursday) and said ‘Let’s close, because there may be an air quality issue.’ ”

The news didn’t reach everyone.

Julie Mibroda, of Coburn, wanted to have her address changed on her license.

“It’s interesting, and I’m kind of curious as to why,” Mibroda said.

Kirsten Guckes, of State College, wanted to have her address changed on her license and have her vehicle registered in Pennsylvania.

“It’s pretty inconvenient, and I’m trying to get all of this stuff done before I start my job,” Guckes said. “I guess it’s especially inconvenient, because now I have to drive fArther away with the weather being what it is and my vehicle isn’t great in snow.”

Campbell said the closing isn’t ideal for anyone.

“We can’t take any chances, and we understand in that area Rockview is the only DMV in Centre County,” Campbell said. “We know the DMVs are spread out in that area, so we adjusted Lewistown’s and Selinsgrove’s hours. Now those locations are open every day.”

Rockview DMV staff has been temporarily moved to the those locations until the facility is reopened.

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli

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