Augusta County Courthouse Properties
HSF encourages the governing bodies of the City of Staunton and Augusta County to negotiate a fair transfer of the court properties to the City of Staunton for use as the City’s Circuit Court and other municipal functions.
#The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation:
#1. “A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships.”
#2. “The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.”
Historic preservation is done best when buildings are reused in ways that preserve their architectural integrity. The 1901 Courthouse was designed to be a courthouse and sits at a place where a courthouse has been since 1747.
HSF believes it is best for Augusta County to build their new courthouse in Verona. We also believe it is best for Staunton to acquire and rehabilitate the 1901 Courthouse as the City’s Circuit Court building. The county’s courthouse needs and their design parameters make courthouse expansion in Staunton very challenging for them. Our focus remains on preserving the 1901 Courthouse as an active courthouse.
Given the design parameters for the county’s new courthouse, the option that is being proposed for downtown Staunton would have a significant impact on Staunton’s historic architectural landscape.
#9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
#10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in a such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
Furthermore, we believe that the City of Staunton can and should rehabilitate the historic courthouses so that these architectural treasures can be preserved for the whole community, city and county. Therefore, HSF encourages the governing bodies of the City of Staunton and Augusta County to negotiate a fair transfer of the court properties to the City of Staunton for use as the City’s Circuit Court and other municipal functions.
Studies Outlining Potential Rehabilitation of the 1901 Courthouse
Case Studies Supporting Courthouse Rehabilitation
Smart growth, economical operations, energy efficiency, and convenience are sustainable benefits attained through rehabilitation of historic civic buildings. Below are case study excerpts and links that encourage rehabilitation and continued use of older and historic structures.
Smart Growth Practices
People appreciate public buildings that express dignity and permanence and that harmonize with their surroundings. There are a number of instances in the Valley where communities have demanded higher quality in the design of new public buildings and resisted efforts to move civic institutions to out-of-the-way locations. Better-Models-for-Development (pg. 97)
Success in Texas! Benefits of Restoring Historic Courthouses
In addition to saving important historic landmarks, there are many benefits that follow the restoration of a historic courthouse through the Texas Historical Commission’s award-winning Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program. Restored historic courthouses have proven to be an economic booster for the Texas and local county economies. The counties with restored historic courthouses also see an impact in the form of increased safety, accessibility, energy efficiency, tourism, and more. Benefits of Restoring Historic Courthouses
Cost-effective Use of Tax Dollars in Wisconsin
General Services Administration (GSA) guidance
Recent analysis conducted by PBS’ Cultural, Environmental and Accessibility programs indicates that cleaning, maintenance, and utility costs at GSA-controlled historic buildings have been consistently lower than comparable operating costs for non-historic GSA buildings. Post-World War II buildings tend to consume more energy due to higher glazing-tosurface ratios and thinner exterior wall construction. Contemporary interior finishes using man-made materials are more likely to require frequent renewal or replacement in contrast to generously dimensioned natural finish materials such as stone and wood, designed to last indefinitely with routine maintenance. Minimally engineered modern building envelopes are also more prone to detailing failures remedied only by major capital investment after 20-30 years of service life. On the other hand, many of GSA’s pre-World War II traditional stone buildings remain architecturally sound after minimal exterior investment over a 60 70 year period. Held in Public Trust: Public Buildings Service (PBS) Strategy for Using Historic Buildings (pg. 15)
Extending the Legacy
In 2009, GSA released new illustrated guidelines documenting successful approaches for integrating security processing functions into historic building lobbies. Lobby Security in Historic Buildings features model solutions for historic lobbies of different sizes and configurations. Designed to complete GSA’s general Lobby Security Design Guide, the historic lobby design guide provides images and narrative guidance for layout, equipment placement, and detailing to minimize the architectural impact of security processing activities on historic entry spaces and materials. Extending the Legacy ( pg. 114)