Groundbreaking Held for New Staunton City Courthouse

STAUNTON, Va. — On April 16, the City of Staunton officially broke ground on the new Staunton Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (J&DR Court) in the former Chestnut Hills Shopping Center in Staunton’s West End.

The groundbreaking ceremony was held in front of the former Hecht’s department store, which sits roughly on the footprint of the future courthouse. A rendering of the new courthouse, designed by Moseley Architects, was on display. The courthouse will be constructed by Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. The construction contract for the new court facility is $18.8 million.

The ceremony brought together key players in the design and construction of the project along with judges, the sheriff’s office, and staff that will work out of the new facility. The event included remarks from Mayor Stephen W. Claffey and City Manager Leslie Beauregard, as well as representatives from the architect and contractor.

Staunton’s J&DR District Court currently shares a facility with the Augusta County J&DR District Court, located at 6 East Johnson St. in Staunton. The building is owned by Augusta County. In September 2021, the Commonwealth declared that the court facility was not in compliance with the requirements of Virginia State Code. In November 2022, Augusta County voters approved a referendum to relocate the County’s Circuit and District Courts to a new facility to be constructed in Verona. As a result of the referendum, the City of Staunton needed to establish its own, separate J&DR District Court.

Mayor Claffey reiterated that choosing the former Chestnut Hills Shopping Center for the court facilities demonstrates that the city is serious about investing in the West End. “With this project, a vacant lot will be transformed into a new civic and community anchor, which will spur additional growth and development in the important business district that runs along West Beverley Street,” said Claffey.

“This is a signature project for the City of Staunton, and I am incredibly proud of the team of city staff that has been working on this new facility,” said Beauregard. “This project was mandated by the Commonwealth of Virginia and completion is on a tight timeline, and city staff and our partners have risen to the occasion for one of the city’s largest projects in decades.”

“Designed to be modern, inviting and open, the exterior site and building compose a balance of beauty and stature that reflects the important civic work done in the building,” said Tony Bell, a Principal with Moseley Architects. “Other areas were designed to meet the specific needs of the City Sheriff, the Judges, and the Clerk and their staff.”

“Shockey is proud to continue its longstanding history of building the most vital public facilities in the Shenandoah Valley. The new courthouse is of particular significance because of the role it will play in assuring that area youth receive fair and impartial justice, and that family matters can be best addressed for positive outcomes,” said Shockey President Jeff Boehm.

When completed, the new J&DR facility will be a two-story brick building totaling 34,330 square feet of space. The design offers two courtrooms, secure program areas for the City Sheriff’s Office, Court Clerk’s Office, Court Service Unit, satellite office space for the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office, Office of the Public Defender, and mediator/victim advocate services.

More information about the courthouse can be found on the city’s website.