Yalobusha County Courthouse Restoration
Project Location: Water Valley, Mississippi
Client: Yalobusha County Board of Supervisors
Date Completed: 2006

As part of a larger project to restore both historic courthouses in Yalobusha County, the Water Valley Courthouse began with a structural evaluation and existing facilities report. An initial structural mitigation project was undertaken while the design and documentation work was being completed for the full restoration. An energy audit and feasibility study was completed resulting in the incorporation of water-source geothermal heating and cooling systems throughout. Wells were provided in the green areas around the perimeter of the building. Grant writing assistance was also provided resulting in award of more than $500k in funding assistance.

The small rural county of Yalobusha has two court districts and therefore two courthouses – both of which are significant historic anchors for their communities. These courthouses were in danger of being abandoned by the county for a new modern, centrally located courthouse. The larger Water Valley Courthouse was originally constructed in 1886, with modifications following a fire in 1913. The upper floors of this three story masonry, steel and concrete building was unusable due to serious structural deficiencies. The exterior primarily consists of a fine face brick with small mortar joints and limestone and terracotta detailing. The exterior rehabilitation of the building included reinstallation of the historic decorative cornice, cleaning and tuckpointing of the exterior masonry and restoration of the terracotta details. The interior rehabilitation included restoration of the stone tile hallway flooring, plaster, wood moldings, and structural shoring. The courtroom was restored to the former configuration including an open balcony. The Chancery addition was required to provide additional space and was designed with reference to the existing nearly historic jail building and to be compatible with the historic Courthouse. In an effort to conserve energy, the County installed ground coupled geo-thermal heating and air systems at both courthouses. Both buildings are designated Mississippi Landmarks through the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.