Nathan Deal Judicial Center

New Home of Georgia’s Judicial Branch

The State of Georgia’s Nathan Deal Judicial Center is the first state-building in the history of Georgia devoted entirely to the judiciary. The seven-story, 224,500 SF facility houses the Supreme Court of Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, and the newly created state-wide Business Court. This significant facility was designed to complement the State Capitol Building (Edbrooke and Burnham built circa 1889) and expand the Capitol Hill District across from Capitol Avenue. SSOE partnered with Robert A.M. Stern Architects to design a facility in the classical architectural approach that symbolizes the dignity of the courts from the beginnings of the republic.

State Leadership

The placement and orientation of the building is directly on axis with the dome of the State Capitol Building and the curved façade responds to the prominent Capital Avenue, Memorial Drive, and 1-20, I-75 / 85 intersections. Like the Capitol’s Legislative Chamber, the building features a central atrium that is elliptical, 112-feet in height, and connects six floors. The Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Courtrooms open onto the atrium that also provides stunning views of Capitol Hill and Downtown Atlanta and beyond.

SSOE worked in partnership with the courts, the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission (GSFIC), the Georgia Building Authority, and the Georgia State Properties Office from programming and planning, site selection, design, and construction over 10 years to complete this historic commission. Employing energy-efficient HVAC systems, LED lighting, water-saving devices, and Georgia-sourced materials including granite and marble, the facility is one of few in Georgia to achieve a three out of four Peaches in the Georgia Peach Green Building Rating System.

“This is a magnificent architectural achievement that should evoke pride in the entire state … it embodies the ideals of our courts, as well as Governor [Nathan] Deal’s deeply personal commitment to criminal justice reform and to this great state.”

Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Supreme Court, at Nathan Deal Judicial Center Dedication Ceremony

Spartanburg County Courthouse

New Courthouse Sited On Original Courthouse Grounds

The proposed Spartanburg County Courthouse will be located in the heart of downtown Spartanburg on the same block as the current courthouse (built in 1956) and on the same site as the original courthouse which was built in 1892. One of the unique design challenges is planning the site to allow construction of the new facility (which will take about two years) while maintaining operations in the existing courthouse. Once the new facility is operational, the current courthouse will be demolished, and a large, landscaped plaza will serve as a “Courthouse Square.”

Adapting To The Site

The seven-story structure is articulated to provide a step-back massing, while a two-story element will offer a more pleasant scale along the street edges. The site slopes from east to west, which is beneficial in separating the public zone from secure areas in the rear. The proposed building will incorporate traditional architectural elements designed to fit within a historical downtown context.

Designed in association with and renderings provided by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture. The new state-of-the-art Spartanburg County Courthouse will feature more than 300,000-square feet and will include a jury assembly room, courtrooms, Clerk of Court, and jury deliberation rooms, and Sheriff’s holding area.

County of Sandusky Courthouse Renovation

SSOE was selected to provide architectural and engineering design for the Sandusky County Courthouse’s interior renovation project. With the main part of the building dating back to 1844 and an expansion in the 1930’s, the courthouse’s interior was in need of significant modernization. Mindful of the building’s original Grecian design, SSOE was able to complement its 19th century style, while giving it 21st century functionality.

The age of the facility provided many obstacles that had to be overcome to ensure the design was feasible with the building’s current architecture and the schedule could be realized. The courthouse’s architectural improvements included ADA upgrades, enhancements to both public and staff areas, and department layout improvements to provide increased efficiency—marrying contemporary and traditional finishes throughout for a uniform appearance. Project savings were realized by preserving existing corridor marble walls with the removal of 100+ years of build-up.

The courthouse’s technology and security systems received a complete overhaul as well, which included installing a single point of entry with metal detectors, securing all remaining access doors with card reader access control. A complete lock down security system was installed with alert buttons placed in each department for use as needed. By better defining public and staff areas, we were able to improve workflow from one department to the next. Most importantly, employee safety was significantly enhanced through the security and mass notification measures put in place by SSOE’s data / fire / security experts.

Florence County Judicial Center

New Courthouse Facility

SSOE, in association with Justice Planning Associates and Goforth-Brown & Associates, was selected to design the new Florence County Judicial Center. Located directly across the street from the existing County Administration Building, the building features seven state-of-the-art courtrooms, a large jury assembly area, and designated public and private areas.

Three-Story Lobby & Landscaped Plaza

The spacious entry plaza and landscaped courtyard, reminiscent of a historic courthouse square, welcomes staff and visitors as they enter the facility.

Emphasis On Security

Special consideration is given to separating public traffic from a more restricted security zone, while a judges parking area is now separated from the general public. The three-story structure delineates the different functions of the county’s court system. Various support areas are easily expanded to accommodate two additional courtrooms in the future.

Sumter County Courthouse

Catalyst For Revitalization

Beyond answering overdue programmatic needs for the County, the new Judicial Center has become a catalyst for revitalization of the city’s downtown core. By transforming a vacant parking lot into the County’s new Center for Justice, our design team was able to create a beautiful, hardscaped entry portico along North Harvin Street.

Addressing Site Challenges

Additionally, a linear park was created, which spans the setback area from East Calhoun Street southward toward East Hampton Street. Required site circulation concerns were placed well away from the public side of the courthouse. All service vehicles and courthouse traffic now share a driveway toward the northeast corner of the facility, while a small restricted parking lot was created for the judges.

Traditional Elements

Based on traditional architectural elements, the new courthouse features four courtrooms, Clerk of Court, Sheriff’s holding area, judges’ chambers, jury deliberation rooms, public areas, and security core.

Matthew J. Perry Federal Courthouse

Prestigious New Courthouse

Based on the exterior vernacular of renowned courthouse architect Robert Mills, SSOE, in association with Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, designed Richland County’s prestigious new federal courthouse.

Spacious Central Lobby

Featuring a central lobby anchored by a rotunda, the courts surround this public axis creating a striking space, while the large, open public lobbies provide circulation areas outside the district and magistrate judge courtrooms.


Lancaster County Courthouse

Traditional Elements

This 100,000 square foot courthouse is located in the heart of Lancaster County’s downtown Historic District. Influenced by the architectural style of famed architect Robert Mills, the building was designed using traditional elements that were incorporated throughout the body of the development.

Security Emphasis

Asked to maintain a reasonable scale to the County’s existing courthouse, the entry pavilion was highlighted with its own gable roof form, creating a more traditional entry façade. Additionally, a two-story glass curtain-wall opens up to green spaces outside while the building’s interior spaces were arranged with emphasis placed on security.

Historical Building

The Lancaster County Courthouse features six courtrooms, Clerk of Court, Probate Court, Sheriff’s holding area, jury assembly and deliberation rooms and judge’s chambers.

A Note From Steve Willis, County Administrator

“We were very pleased with the progress of the new Courthouse. The design process went smoothly and SSOE kept us in the loop regarding all aspects of design. The communication of the Design-Build team to the Owner was, in one word, exemplary.”


Wood County Courthouse Addition

The project’s program was to solve access and security issues for a multi-building county courthouse complex. The site consisted of three existing buildings facing an exterior plaza. Two of the existing buildings, the county courthouse and old jail facility, both were constructed in the late 19th century of Ohio-quarried rock-faced Berea sandstone. The third building was constructed in the early 1970s of precast concrete panels. The solution required connecting the three buildings with an addition that would create an enclosed complex for approximately 500 people.

Functionally, the new addition needed to create a primary public entrance that clarified internal circulation and way-finding to all the county departments. The addition also needed to satisfy court security required by The Ohio Supreme Court. Aesthetically, the addition needed to complement the existing buildings.

Early in the design process, it was determined the addition should provide a transition between the architectural styles of the existing buildings. A pallet of materials was chosen that mirrors the original building materials. The introduction of the Berea sandstone, clay tile roofing, and natural concrete provides that transition of style to complement the entire complex. Minimized connections to the existing buildings permit them to stand on their own. The glass and skylights provide views to the architectural details of the past.

A relocated fountain from the 1970s serves as a focal point at the new entry plaza to the complex. The materials are introduced on the plaza and continue to the interior of the addition to reinforce the connective function of the addition. This new complex entrance does not compete with the primary facade and entrance of the courthouse. The design of the addition also permits the entire complex to be secured with only one entry point, satisfying the requirement of the Ohio Supreme Court.

Georgia Municipal Association Headquarters Renovation and Addition

A New Headquarters

The Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) constructed a new Headquarters Building on their existing property at 201 Pryor Street. The facility includes a new office building, the renovation of the existing headquarters building (originally built in the early 1900s and expanded in 1987), a new 150-space parking deck, and the creation of outdoor courtyard / collaboration spaces. The new facility faces both Trinity Avenue and Pryor Street and includes a new front door located off of Pryor Street.

Four Stories High With A New Parking Deck

The building is four stories tall with a connector to the existing building with connections at two levels. The building also shares an elevator and stair with a new parking deck which replaces their existing surface parking lot and consolidates all parking needs into their facility. The building also includes an exterior fourth-floor terrace with views of the Capitol building.

Building Accents

The parking deck is five levels with connections to the building at one, four, and five that corresponds to building levels one, two, and four. The building’s façade is red modular brick with large storefront windows on the ground level with precast arched headers. On the upper levels, punched windows have architectural precast headers, sills, and bands. The two-level connector is primarily a glazed wall system with a precast base and sill. The parking deck also has a red modular brick façade facing the street with active use office storefront openings on Level 1 and aluminum framed openings on the upper parking levels.