Former Gov. Nathan Deal has gotten his first look at the state’s new judicial building named for him. The Nathan Deal Judicial Center is the new home of the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals.
“The state of Georgia, I think can be very, very proud of this building and all that it signifies,” he says.
During his time as governor, Deal was essential in getting the $131 million in funding to build the six story, 215,000 square foot building at the corner of Memorial Drive and Capitol Avenue.
“This is a 100-year-old building. We intend to have this building for 100 years,” remarked Chief Justice Harold Melton before the tour for Deal and local media.
The building holds offices for 150 state employees who were crammed in a total of three buildings across the street from the State Capitol.
“Those who were close to it already knew that the quarters were very cramped in the old Law Building where they were located. Of course, as your recall, we expanded the size of both the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
The new building features handmade desks and upholstered chairs made by inmates in Georgia’s prison system. It’s appropriate because Deal was a proponent of rehabilitation and giving prisoners a second chance at life.
“We have to make sure that those who are leaving our system have some skill sets and have as much support as possible so that they can make a successful entry back into civilian life. And to see those kinds of examples in person and in this building certainly is rewarding,” he says.
Deal met one of those former inmates, William Rutledge, during his tour.
“It is because of the rehabilitative programs that are in place within the Department of Corrections that I have become the man I am today,” says Rutledge.
The new building will also soon house Georgia’s new statewide Business Court championed by Deal as well. Cases are scheduled to begin in August.