TEXARKANA, Ark. -- Thursday was moving day for the Office of Child Support and Enforcement.
For nearly two decades, the office has operated from the Landmark Building downtown, at 210 N. State Line Ave. Now, the staff of about 25 -- who see about 1,000 clients a month -- have a new, spacious office at 1005 Arkansas Blvd. that Program Manager Stacy Revalee said provides plenty of advantages.
"It allows the public easier to services," said Revalee, who has been with the office for 15 years.
Compared to its place inside Landmark, where there was no clear signage directing people to the office, the one-story Arkansas Boulevard location is more accessible, Revalee said.
"They don't have to walk a mile to get into the building," she said, citing how the limited car space at Landmark can require a person to park a car far from the building.
Revalee also said she is particularly pleased with the interview room, which will better ensure confidentiality as agents help a family work through a case.
"It has a level of comfort for employees and clients."
Attorney Specialist James Syler, who represents the state in court during child support negotiations, said the new building will boost the office's security.
"It's a standalone building, so we can maintain security at the highest level," he said.
Syler said such security, which includes cameras and better control over entry points, is something the office didn't have downtown, since it had to share a building with businesses and county agencies. However, heightened security is a necessity for the child support office because of the sensitive financial and other information agents must handle.
"We have total control over the facility," Syler said.
Customer service representative Candice Tharpe, who has been with the office for nearly nine years, sees another plus to the move.
"I'm excited because we won't have to deal with the elevator," she said about the multistory Landmark.
Revalee and Syler are hopeful the improved access and heightened security of the building will keep the office anchored to its mission of ensuring fairness.
"Our goal isn't to squeeze someone tighter," Syler said about the state's negotiations with parents on financial support. "Our goal is to help people."
"I do this from the heart. I do this for the people."
The move is expected to be complete by the end of today, with in-person services resuming on Monday. Still, Syler said they will need "time to work out the kinks."
"We encourage the public to be patient as we convert."
The office's number will remain the same -- 870-772-3443 -- and clients are encouraged to call it during the move, as calls are forwarded to the Hope office. Customer service staff also will remain at the Landmark building through Friday.
"You may access information regarding the status of your case, send messages to your caseworker, and check payment information by logging on to the customer service portal by going to www.childsupport.arkansas.gov and clicking the OCSE MyCase button," the Arkansas Department of Finance Administration states on its website. "Additionally, our automated line at 1-800-264-2445 provides payment information every day and at any time."
The DFA operates the state's child support program.
A grand opening for the new building is planned but has not been scheduled.
Construction costs were not immediately available Thursday.