LOWVILLE — The lines are painted and the drivers have been notified: the Lewis County Jefferson Community College Education Center, 7395 East Rd., will be the new location for commercial driver’s license road tests in the county beginning on Thursday.
Since CDL testing was reinstated in June, dozens of drivers have taken their practical exam at the Industrial Development Agency’s Center for Business, formerly known as Climax Manufacturing, just north of the village on State Route 26.
According to County Clerk Linda Hoskins, the sale of that site to Ox Industries LLC in early October caused the county to have to quickly make a new plan to honor road tests that had already been scheduled.
Mrs. Hoskins said there are already six dates through the first week of January for state certified examiners to come to the new site, with at least four drivers being tested on each of those days.
“It’s a service, the county doesn’t make money off of it. It’s more of a convenience to be able to offer it so that people don’t have to travel to take the test,” she noted.
After the county lost its testing site almost four years ago because of new regulations at that time, finding the “right” paved space was a challenge until the Center for Business was formed, but this latest transition has been much easier. Mrs. Hoskins said.
The layout at the Education Center, the school’s focus on the trades and the fact that the county will already be plowing at the campus made it the perfect fit.
“JCC were very enthusiastic about this, and it’s all working out really well,” Mrs. Hoskins said, “This license impacts many different types of careers.”
The college is now in the process of creating a CDL course at the Lewis campus targeted to have its first session in mid-spring.
In the Tuesday night county board meeting, legislators agreed to sell a dump truck and a tractor trailer to JCC for the $20,000 the school said it could pull together so that the equipment was available to students that take the course.
The equipment was already slated to be sold and although it likely would have brought in more money than that offered by the college, legislators discussed the issue in committee meetings last month with majority of legislators saying the loss of revenue was worth it “for the students.”
“My understanding is that there is tremendous demand for CDL drivers in the area and beyond, so once we get this up and running we believe there will be a strong response,” said Assistant Vice President of Workforce Development and Business Terrence Harris.
The Education Center grounds were designed with loading and unloading in mind, Mr. Harris said, but the set-up has turned out to be perfect for the road tests, which made the CDL course the logical next program to bring to the Center.
Ms. Hoskins said she also believes the course will be well attended as she often receives calls from school bus garages and businesses trying to find out the nearest driving schools and test sites.
“This all really fills a need. It’s really exciting how it’s coming together.”
To sign up for a commercial driver’s license exam in Lewis County, go in person to the Department of Motor Vehicles, 7513 E. State St., or schedule online at https://dmv.ny.gov/schedule-road-test.