Coming soon: The ‘Nathan Deal Judicial Center’

An artist rendering of the new judicial complex to be built across the street from the Georgia Capitol.

An artist rendering of the new judicial complex to be built across the street from the Georgia Capitol.

A towering judicial complex that is one of the most expensive building projects in Georgia history could soon bear the name of the politician who has reshaped the state judiciary. 

House Speaker David Ralston said this week at the State of the Ports gathering in Savannah that he'll propose legislation next year that names the new state courts building after outgoing Gov. Nathan Deal.

Calling Deal “one of our greatest governors,” Ralston said it was only fitting that the complex set to house the newly-expanded Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals be named for the two-term Republican.

A former judge himself, Deal has appointed more than 100 jurists to the bench – including most of the judges on Georgia's top courts.

Expect the legislation to be pre-filed on Nov. 15 and mirror a proposal introduced in the final days of this year's session that would dub the development the "Nathan Deal Judicial Center."

The complex, which is set to cost at least $110 million, was built on the spot where the Georgia Archives Building once rose. Nicknamed the White Ice Cube, the state tore down that building earlier this year to make way for the judicial center that courts officials have said was desperately needed.

Plans for the new building, which is set to open in 2019, include a four-story atrium with giant windows overlooking the Capitol. Designers hope to eventually build a park over nearby roads to link the complex to the Gold Dome, but there is no funding yet to do so.

At the groundbreaking ceremony in 2017, Deal called the construction a timely reminder that “Georgia puts a high value on the rule of law.” Asked to elaborate, the governor said people sometimes see the justice system as a “cliché” of sorts.

“We pay lip service to the concept of rule of law,” Deal said. “But in reality, it’s the rock-solid bottom that is the underpinning of our democracy, and we should all be reminded about that. And this building is an excellent opportunity to do that.”