Groundbreaking took place Monday for a $3 million project in Kingsville to renovate the old Kleberg County Exxon building into office space for a variety of state offices, including the Department of Public Safety.

The old Exxon building will see big changes in the next few months, and the good news is that it will come at no cost to taxpayers.

The building was once condemned and then given to the county. That is where former Judge Pete de la Garza got the ball rolling.

The second story of the building housed Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services, but the first floor would remain empty, creating a big problem.

Current Kleberg County Judge Rudy Madrid said it was something that needed to be addressed in order to turn a financial deficit into a positive.

"We were able to come to an agreement with some longterm obligations to help insure this project was funded through rent monies and at no expense to our taxpayers," Madrid said. "That was the key."

In fact, Madrid said in the process of renegotiating preexisting bonds they saved the County more than $250,000.

Madrid said one part of the building houses rows of illegal gambling machines once confiscated by law enforcment. Soon it will be called home to a number of state offices including the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, State Rep. J.M. Lozano and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"It means a lot to us to be able to adequately service the citizens of Kingsville, both at the drivers license office and having the college here," DPS Sgt. Nathan Brandley said. "Greater amount of people to service here in Kingsville."

The building will be named after the man who originally started the improvement process.

"It really is a big honor to get a building named after you while you are still kicking," Judge Pete De La Garza said. "It's pretty good."

The project is scheduled to be completed by spring.

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