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New Oconee County Courthouse

Dedication of the New Oconee Courthouse


Photo of new Oconee County courthouse

New Oconee County Courthouse

Chief Justice Jean Hoefer Toal participated in the dedication ceremony for the new courthouse in Oconee County on Friday April 4, 2003.  As the guest speaker at the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Chief Justice said, “ the American Judicial System can be most accurately measured not by the large jurisdictions or larger counties.  Ordered liberty in America depends on the success of rural America’s courts and justice system.”


She also recognized that the citizens of Oconee County have made a major investment in their own security and a major contribution to homeland security with the successful completion of this new temple of justice. “When the history of South Carolina’s progress is written, Oconee will be known as the county, which opened the door to the 21st century for rural South Carolina.”


The resident circuit court judge, the Honorable Alexander S. Macaulay and the resident family court judge, Timothy M. Cain participated in the ribbon-cutting event with Ann Hughes, the Oconee County Supervisor.  Senator Lindsey Graham and Representative Gresham Barrett also spoke at the dedication honoring the many people who contributed to the success of the new courthouse.

The Clerk of Court, Sallie Smith received the keys from Ms. Hughes and invited the public to tour the new facility. Carl Hayden, Oconee’s IT Manager, assisted with the integration of technology in the new facility.



Photo of Chief Justice Toal with other judges in attendance

Family Court Judge Tommy Edwards, Circuit Court Judge J. C. "Buddy" Nicholson, Jr., Family Court Judge Barry Knobel, Resident Family Court Judge Tim Cain, Resident Circuit Court Judge Alexander Macaulay, and Chief Justice Jean Toal
The site for the new courthouse is located in the same block and adjacent to the existing courthouse in downtown Walhalla. The new courthouse shares the site with its predecessor and allows the older courthouse to change function to accommodate other amenities vital to the Oconee County Court System.


Photo of Senator Lindsey Graham

Lindsey Graham


Description of the Courthouse    

The new Oconee Courthouse is a 60,000 square foot, four-story structure with a basement level facing Main Street. The building allows for easy functional separation of court processes. At the basement level, secure parking for the judges, the sally port, and the holding area are all located. The first floor houses the Clerk of Court, Auditorium, and the Solicitor’s offices as well as the tellers’ area and other public functions.

The first through fourth floors also have in place a secure corridor system so the employees of the courthouse may move throughout the building in a secure environment.


Photo of Representative Gresham Barrett

Representative Gresham Barrett

Photo of Chief Justice Toal with Clerk of Court Smith and IT Director Hayden

Clerk of Court Sallie Smith, Chief Justice Jean Toal, and Information Technology Manager Carl Hayden

The second floor contains two family courtrooms with judges’ and related offices on the perimeter.  Family Court, being the most heavily used court system in the building, is the shortest vertical distance to the main floor. Access by a centralized stair in the main lobby will allow large amounts of traffic to flow to and from the courtrooms in addition to the elevators. 


The third floor contains Circuit Courts.  This floor is similar to the second with the two courtrooms placed in the center of the building. This floor houses three jury rooms allowing for court in both chambers while there is a jury deliberation.

The Major Circuit Courtroom is located on the fourth floor. This is the large capacity courtroom housing approximately 200 people and will handle all major public cases.  This floor also contains grand jury, conference room, and related spaces.

F.J. Clarke, Inc was the architect with M.B.Kahn Co. Inc, functioning as the contractor.