Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will move to new building in February

January 10, 2008

The Mississippi Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court Clerk, Administrative Office of Courts, Board of Bar Admissions and the Commission on Continuing Legal Education are moving into a new building starting Friday, Feb. 8.

The new justice facility is located just north of the old Carroll Gartin Justice Building at 450 High Street. The new facility will bear the same name.

Chief Justice James W. Smith Jr. said, “After fifteen years of careful planning and ultimate construction, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and our entire support staff will be housed together in one of the most stately and beautiful court facilities in the nation. On behalf of the justices and judges of the appellate courts, I thank the Governor, the Legislature, and most of all the citizens of our great state for providing us with this outstanding court complex.”

Movers will be at work Feb. 8, during the weekend of Feb. 9-10 and at least through Monday, Feb. 11. It is anticipated that the new facilities, with the exception of the State Library, will be available to the public by Tuesday, Feb. 12.

The State Library will be closed to the public starting Feb. 4 to begin moving its voluminous collection. The law library is expected to reopen on or about Feb. 19.

Both appellate courts will continue to operate during the period of the move. However, public access will be limited at the Supreme Court in the old Gartin Building Feb. 8-11. The office of the Supreme Court Clerk will continue to accept filings during the move, although physical access to the counter of the clerk’s office in the old Gartin Building may be difficult during part of that time. Documents to be filed with the Supreme Court Clerk will also be accepted at the office of the Capitol Police on the south side of the first floor of the Capitol.

No written decisions will be issued by the Court of Appeals on Feb. 12 or by the Mississippi Supreme Court on Feb. 14.

Members of the news media are advised that they will not be allowed inside the new justice facility while movers are at work Feb. 8-11. This is a safety and liability issue. Only a few court personnel supervising the move will be allowed in the new building during this time.

The Internet web site of the Mississippi Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will be down from 5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, to 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11.

New telephone numbers effective after the move are:

• Court of Appeals, 601-576-4665;
• Administrative Office of Courts, 601-576-4630;
• Board of Bar Admissions, 601-576-4620;
• Commission on Continuing Legal Education, 601-576-4622
• Board of Certified Court Reporters, 601-576-4623.

Telephone numbers will not change for offices at the Supreme Court and State Library.

The new justice facility will house the entire appellate court system.

The new building is part of a larger project including renovation of the Sillers Building, construction of the new Sillers parking garage, and the creation of a pedestrian mall between the Sillers Building and the new justice facility. The final phase will include demolition of the top three floors of the old Gartin Building, placement of a columned portico on the south side of the new building, renovation of the below ground spaces of the old building, and creation of the pedestrian mall. That phase is expected to take about two years.

The old Gartin Building was dedicated in 1974. Before that time, the Supreme Court was housed at the Capitol.

Planning for a new justice building began in 1993 when the Legislature created the Court of Appeals and the Administrative Office of Courts. Chief Justice Smith, former Chief Justice Lenore Prather and former Justice Jim Roberts comprised the Supreme Court Building Committee which commenced the planning and site selection for the current Court of Appeals building as well as the new justice building.

The Court of Appeals began hearing cases in 1995. There was no room for that court in the old Gartin Building. Since December 1994, a rented office building at 656 N. State Street has housed the Court of Appeals, Administrative Office of Courts, Board of Bar Admissions, Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Board of Certified Court Reporters.

Construction of the four-story, 124,965 square foot new justice facility on state-owned property began in 2001.

The building has been funded and built in stages. All questions about construction and cost of the new building should be directed to Kym Wiggins, Department of Finance and Administration, 601-359-3402.