Multifaceted New Justice Center Breaks Ground in Western NC

By CN Staff

SHELBY, N.C.—On May 21, 2024, the Moseley Architects design team joined the local community and county officials to break ground on the new Cleveland County Justice Center in Shelby. The 343,000-square-foot campus is estimated to be complete in 2026 and will consolidate several county law enforcement, detention, judicial and administrative departments across 8.3 acres.

Prior to the justice complex design, Moseley Architects completed preliminary master planning to address the overcrowding and costly upkeep of the county’s detention, court and law enforcement facilities. The team provided several options to county stakeholders, along with a phasing plan. Ultimately, the final plan provided centralized operations for these spaces, with significant annual savings through reduced maintenance and overall cost of energy consumption. The campus will house a detention center, courthouse, sheriff’s office and parking areas, while keeping its judicial functions in uptown Shelby.

Cleveland County subsequently selected Moseley to design the new justice center. The complex will include:

  • A 147,000-square-foot detention center featuring core spaces for 600 inmates as well as intake, booking, medical and magistrate’s areas; kitchen and service areas; and administration and support areas.
  • A 46,000-square-foot law enforcement center with spaces for the sheriff’s law enforcement division, including narcotics, patrol, civil and investigations.
  • A new, 151,000-square-foot courthouse building featuring nine courtrooms, judicial office space, clerk of court office space, district attorney offices, public defender offices and a register of deeds office.

The design process chiefly prioritizes those who work, play and live in Cleveland County. This was accomplished in part by consolidating the campus into a single uptown location, allowing citizens easy access to a myriad of county services. Additionally, the design incorporates updated technology features that will support modern workplace needs and aid in efficient operations within each division.

The project is future-minded as well and accommodates the evolving needs of a growing community. In anticipation of this prospective growth, the county plans to continue cultivating facilities on site to reduce the possibility of outgrowing or needing to relocate. Most importantly, the new complex will provide upgraded security and safety measures to help protect citizens and county employees.

Direct connection between the detention center and the courthouse, will allow for secure movement between these facilities. This feature not only eliminates the need for transportation across town between facilities, but also further reduces operational costs

The new justice center complements Shelby’s unique architectural context. The area’s Historic Cleveland County Courthouse, one of its most prominent features that dates back to 1907, remains a historical anchor of the community. The replacement facility constructed in 1974 provides a connection to the heart of uptown but doesn’t hold the full monumental appearance of the original. Therefore, the project’s master planning efforts sought to address this with a modernized courthouse that meets practical judicial needs while making a distinct visual impact. The new facility will aim to inspire local, state and regional connection through its prominent location, thoughtful design and a secure entry plaza welcoming the public.

This project is a group initiative made possible through close collaboration with several stakeholders. Alongside Sheriff Alan Norman, this includes County Manager David Cotton, Assistant County Manager Keri Melton, county commissioners, and a number of judicial officials including judges, the clerk of court, the district attorney, the public defender, and the register of deeds.

Additionally, the project team included the following subconsultants:

  • Food Service: Foodesign Associates
  • Acoustical and Audio-Visual Consulting: Thorburn Associates
  • Civil Engineering: WithersRavenel
  • Landscape Architecture: CLH design, p.a.
  • Construction Manager at Risk : Yates Construction – Metcon, a joint-venture

Moseley Architects provides multidisciplinary services to clients worldwide. Founded in 1969 in Richmond, Va., the firm’s footprint includes offices in Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina.