Verona and Staunton courthouse cost estimates revealed

Published: Aug. 18, 2022 at 10:26 AM EDT
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VERONA, Va. (WHSV) - Augusta County residents have a big choice to make in November.

They’ll vote on where they want their courthouse to be, and architects and engineers have now wrapped up their cost estimates. County leaders reported the findings Wednesday at a press conference.

If course facilities move to Verona, the county can expect to pay $80,026,447. If facilities stay in Staunton, the county can expect to pay $103,855,525.

Those estimates include all costs associated, not just construction.

“We want to be very transparent with everybody and let them know what the total costs are. We don’t want to say the building is $50 million and then come back later and say ‘we spent 80.” It’s very transparent with everybody about what the costs are going to be,” said Augusta County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald.

The courthouse in Verona would stand three stories tall, and plans show it would be over 122,000 sq. ft. Fitzgerald said the courthouse would house their juvenile and district courts and magistrate offices, and there would also be room for employees, jury members and judges.

The Verona courthouse would stand three stories tall.
The Verona courthouse would stand three stories tall.(WHSV)

The courthouse in Staunton would stand five stories tall and cover almost 111,000 sq. ft. The Staunton courthouse would also include a parking garage underneath.

The Staunton Courthouse would stand five stories tall.
The Staunton Courthouse would stand five stories tall.(WHSV)

State law says localities must provide adequate court facilities. The county said they are not able to renovate their current courthouse to fall in line with state requirements. They’ve been served a show cause order.

The 2022 referendum was also debated at the state level since their last referendum was only six years ago. The 2016 referendum ended with voters deciding to keep their courthouse in Staunton.

However, county leaders said they must make changes to their facilities, whether that’s in Staunton or Verona.

“This is not really a lot of choices. I think the choice will be very clear,” said Garber.

As for their current courthouse, Garber said they hope someone will find good use for it.

“We are in negotiations with people that would have a very good repurpose with that. Since they have not made a decision, I don’t want to go into who that is. It is certainly our hope that somebody has it, utilizes it well. Hopefully it’s somebody that has their own funding so it doesn’t become an issue for us,” Garber said.

Garber also said taxes for county residents will go up either way, but he couldn’t provide more specifics.

For more on the courthouse, check out one of the stories below:

2016 - Final town hall to discuss Augusta County Courthouse before vote

2018 - Augusta County leaders vote to pursue plan for new courthouse

Future of Augusta County Courthouse put to vote

Staunton leaders disappointed after bill allowing Augusta County Courthouse referendum advances

Governor signs legislation over Augusta County courthouse referendum

Augusta County leaders to evaluate size, costs of courthouse layout

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