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Hillsborough opens new regional service center in Brandon

BRANDON — Couples have started to say "I do" daily here, between two potted plants perched on white pedestals.

Just down the hall, they can file for divorce.

"We're a one-stop shop," said Kim Muga-Barnes, director of the Clerk of the Circuit Court's Office in the new Brandon Regional Service Center.

The $4.2-million, 18,000-square-foot building also includes a kiosk for paying water bills and a meeting room that seats more than 300 people.

A branch of the Property Appraiser's Office is scheduled to open there later this month.

The building officially opened last week, but the clerk's office opened its doors May 19.

Since then, about 5,000 people have come through the office, manager Andrew Barrios said.

"It's astounding," County Commissioner Al Higginbotham said.

The new building fills a significant need in the area, he said, and ultimately saves money because the county will no longer lease office space.

Higginbotham said he plans to use the meeting rooms for community meetings.

Wait times have decreased, Barrios said, with more windows and significantly more space than the clerk's former Brandon office, a leased space on Adamo Drive.

And the corner of the office where clerks perform wedding ceremonies is four times larger.

"Before, a lot of people couldn't even bring their families in," Barrios said.

There are more windows for filing divorce papers and other lawsuits, too.

Catherine E. Shoichet can be reached at cshoichet@sptimes.com or 661-2454.

>>IF YOU GO

Center hours

The Brandon Regional Service Center, 311 Pauls Drive, Brandon, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Hillsborough opens new regional service center in Brandon 06/12/08 [Last modified: Thursday, June 12, 2008 4:31am]
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