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

Oct. 6 open house set for new Webster County Courthouse in Walthall

September 30, 2019

An open house is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6, at the new Webster County Courthouse at 6333 Mississippi Highway 9 in Walthall.

County offices moved into the new building on July 19, six and a half years after fire destroyed the old courthouse on Jan. 17, 2013.

The new 17,000 square foot, two-story brick courthouse bears a resemblance to the old courthouse. JH&H Architects of Flowood was directed to design a building that captured some of the look of the old building, said architect Adam Haver. “Everyone loved the old one. We tried to not copy it, but use elements from it so that it paid homage,” he said.

County offices and the Board of Supervisors board room are on the first floor. Two courtrooms, judges’ chambers and the jury room are upstairs.

Webster County Chancery Clerk Russell Turner said it’s been a pleasant adjustment. “It’s nice to be back where you are not sitting on top of each other, where you can have a private conversation. It’s great to go to court and it’s just upstairs, and the board meeting is in the same building. For six years we juggled that. It made us become very flexible.”

After the old courthouse burned, county offices moved into a county building in Eupora that had previously housed only Justice Court, the probation office and the Webster County Extension Service.

Webster County Circuit Clerk Sherry Henderson said that in the former shared offices, “You could roll around in your chair and go where you needed to go.” She added, “We were fortunate to have some place that we could all fit into. But it’s a breath of fresh air being back out here.”

Circuit Court held trials at the Choctaw County Courthouse in Ackerman while awaiting a new facility. “We have carried Webster County to Choctaw County in a box for six and a half years,” Henderson said.

Webster County Chancery Court used the city of Eupora’s municipal courtroom, and occasionally the Justice Court courtroom.

The courthouse cost $4.485 million to build, and the parking lot and other expenditures brought it to about $5 million, Turner said. The cost was covered by insurance payments for the loss of the old building and a $148,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission for infrastructure improvements. “We pretty much built back with insurance money.”

A dispute with the insurance company created part of the delay. The company sued Webster County, and the county counter-sued. A settlement was reached in December 2015, court records show.