Stately New County Courthouse Breaks Ground in Virginia

By CN Staff

VERONA, Va.—Moseley Architects recently joined Augusta County officials and community members as they celebrated the groundbreaking of the county’s new courthouse in Verona. The event signifies the advancement of the county’s judicial infrastructure and marks a major milestone in a project that originated more than three decades ago.

The 124,000-square-foot, four-story courthouse will house eight courtrooms, offices for more than 100 staff members, support spaces and secured parking. Inspired by Augusta County’s 1901 circuit courthouse in Staunton, the design comprises red brick, white trim, four stately white columns, a triangular pediment and a cupola.

Moseley Architects analyzed the space requirements of the county government’s administration in 1987. The study identified the need for 268,000 square feet of space within the following 20 years. It concluded with the recommendation to relocate Augusta County’s agencies and departments from downtown Staunton to Verona. Months after the study was published, the board of supervisors voted to purchase Smith Transfer Corporation’s former campus, a 165-acre property easily accessible via I-81, I-64 and Route 11.

In 1988, Moseley Architects completed the Augusta County Government Center Master Plan to serve as a general guide for the adaptation and use of the Smith Transfer campus’s existing buildings and site features for the next 20 years. The government administration offices officially moved to the site two years later, followed by social services in 1992.

Within a decade, the county engaged Moseley Architects to update the space needs assessments of the sheriff’s office, jail, juvenile detention center and courts, and to provide preliminary planning for their relocation to the Verona campus. The sheriff’s office moved in 2004, the juvenile detention center in 2005, the regional jail in 2006 and the school board in 2013.

Augusta County exhaustively investigated building a courthouse in downtown Staunton that fulfilled court needs and adhered to the Virginia Courthouse Facility Guidelines. Balancing historic preservation with the challenges of modernizing a 100-year-old building proved costly and complex.

For over three decades, under 13 different boards of supervisors, Augusta County pursued a new courthouse that could meet future needs and fit downtown Staunton’s historical context. From 2002 through 2015, the county conducted seven analyses to address the space requirements and potential solutions for the circuit, general district and juvenile courts.

2016 & 2022 Referendums

In 2016, Augusta County issued a referendum for relocating the courts to Verona, but restrictive Virginia code language on the ballot obscured the higher costs of remaining downtown. Despite efforts to clarify this fact for voters, the referendum was unsuccessful.

After reevaluating downtown Staunton options, Augusta County found none met joint city-county approval. In 2021, Judge William Chapman Goodwin issued an order mandating Augusta County to show viable plans for an updated, secure court system.

With no suitable downtown plans, the county was obligated to issue another referendum. Through the support of Delegate Avoli and Senator Hanger, legislation was passed to allow the county to appeal to voters again. In November 2022, more than 30,000 Augusta County residents voted, with 86% approving construction of a new courthouse facility in Verona.


The construction of the courthouse fulfills the recommendations in the 2001 master plan and moves the county seat from the City of Staunton to Verona. The site is less than half of a mile from the sheriff’s office, detention facilities, social services and core government offices. As noted in the 2001 master plan, the direct connection between the jail and the courthouse’s holding area maximizes security and minimize the cost of moving detainees.

The facility aims to stand as a symbol of judicial integrity, community values and the forward-thinking mindset of Augusta County. It honors centuries of judicial service with its design and looks ahead to accommodate the needs of future generations.