Home ‘A new civic and community anchor’: Staunton breaks ground on new Juvenile & DR building
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‘A new civic and community anchor’: Staunton breaks ground on new Juvenile & DR building

Staunton City Council members break ground on the new Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court building at 2040 W. Beverley Street on Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Rebecca J. Barnabi.

A groundbreaking ceremony held at 2040 W. Beverley Street in the West End of Staunton this afternoon was several years in the making.

After Augusta County residents voted in a referendum in November 2022 and chose Verona as the site for a new county courthouse, the Queen City knew it would also need a new site for its Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court (J&DR).

“We were placed in a position of having to find our own courthouse,” Staunton Mayor Stephen W. Claffey said in front of the former Heck’s at the former Chestnut Hills Shopping Center. “We were no longer allowed to share the courthouse with Augusta. We must own the building and the property it is on.”

The decision of where Staunton’s courthouse would move to was not easy, but the former Chestnut Hills Shopping Center became available.

“We’re very excited about what this project means for the West End,” Claffey said. “For what it means for the staff and the city it’s going to relocate out here.”

The future courthouse, designed by Moseley Architects of Richmond, will be built roughly on the footprint of the former Heck’s department store, which will be demolished. The new court building will be a two-story brick building of 34,330 square feet with 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.

The courthouse will be constructed by Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. of Winchester at construction contract price of $18.8 million.

“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 sector that runs along West Beverley Street,” Claffey said.

Staunton City Manager Leslie Beauregard said the project has been one of the most difficult of her career, but also the most rewarding.

“The process is not always smooth. I think we can all agree with that, but we’ve learned a lot from going through this process,” Beauregard said. “And, in the end, I can’t say I’m excited enough about the project, what it will mean for our courts, the families that will be served by the courts, the West End and the city as a whole.”

Moseley’s Tony Bell said the new city campus in the former shopping center will be anchored by the court building, which “holds great opportunity that the city wants to maximize.” The location provides access to public transportation and ample parking.

According to Bell, the building’s design is modern, inviting and open in an “appropriate environment for the judicial process.” The design also allows for expansion later when necessary.

Justin Nester of Howard Shockey & Sons said the company has been in business for 128 years and the court building project means the company is “just now getting started.”

“Building in support of our youth, even when justice is involved, is our passion,” Nester said. “This much needed facility will ensure that fair and impartial outcomes are delivered in a facility benefitting it. We can’t wait to get started.”

Staunton’s Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court moving to Hardy Lot downtown – Augusta Free Press

Staunton accepting bids for construction of new Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court facility – Augusta Free Press

The American Dream: West End restaurant remains open during court facility construction – Augusta Free Press

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.