Neighboring Site Options Secured for Virginia Courthouse Expansion

By CN Staff

STAUNTON, Va. – Augusta County recently secured purchase options for nine properties surrounding the Circuit Courthouse in downtown Staunton.

According to a press release, the purchase of these properties will allow the County to develop a functional and secure space for the court systems while keeping the historic 1901 Courthouse intact as a focal point for downtown Staunton. The properties’ location will also avoid the new courts facility from being developed in a FEMA-designated floodplain.

The red brick public courthouse was completed nearly 120 years ago and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. It is the fifth courthouse constructed on the site—the first having been a log building constructed in 1755.

The design of this historic structure follows the Beaux Arts architectural style. The building has a two-story, four-bay central portico, with one-bay hyphens connecting to one-bay wings on either side, a domed cupola, with extensive ornamentation on the pediments and the capitals of the yellow, pressed brick columns. The entrances are on the hyphens, rather than the central pavilion, with a stone belt course around the entire structure.

Its historical significance is in its unique architecture, as well as its history and records, some dating back to the Colonial era.

The County of Staunton said, in a statement, that it remains committed to working with the City of Staunton to develop an expansion that not only meets the needs and standards of today’s complex court systems, but also takes into consideration the historical context in which Staunton’s downtown development occurs. The County will work with the City and their Historic Preservation Commission in seeking approvals for the future courts facility.

The Board will also consider amending an existing contract with Moseley Architects to include services for schematic design, environmental studies, surveying and structural analysis for the 1901 courthouse and its expansion.

In 2018, the Board of Supervisors hired Moseley Architects to design facilities in downtown Staunton that would comply with the state law that limits the County to building a courthouse on the current Circuit Court site or adjacent property.

This project has been on the Board of Supervisors priority list for decades. The Courthouse must meet contemporary and specific needs for the Circuit Court, District Court, Juvenile and Domestic Relations court, as well as related court functions such as the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices, the Court Services Unit, and clerks’ offices. Operational and security needs for the courts system are not being met by the current space.