Natchez Federal Courthouse

Natchez Federal Courthouse

The City of Natchez’s Historic Natchez Foundation took over a decaying 1853 auditorium to be transformed into a useable facility. The Foundation envisioned a one seat courtroom and convinced the General Services Administration to fund the project. Moses Engineers provided the HVAC, power, emergency power, lighting, fire protection, special systems, courtroom technology and security systems for this facility. 

A key challenge was in developing a modern courthouse while maintaining the building’s historical integrity. Although small, this facility was required to adhere to current GSA standards for operations, security, energy efficiency and maintainability. We developed the bottom floor into a fully operating security center with 24/7 CCTV monitoring, holding cells and administrative offices. A new rear addition provides a judge’s elevator. We met code requirements by installing exit stairs and a vehicular sallyport.

The large historic windows provided opportunity for daylighting but required interior shading to minimize courtroom glare. The operators can take advantage of this feature by lowering or raising the features affected. Glare decreases as the lighting levels are evened out.

In 2009, this project won an AIA Gulf States Honor Award and an AIA City of New Orleans Honor Award. In 2010 the project also was awarded a Louisiana AIA Merit Award for achieving a fit between the new features and the preexisting architectural asset.

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