It’s been more than a decade since Congress initially earmarked funds for a new federal courthouse in Greenville, and now, ground has officially been broken on the site where a parking lot once sat on East North Street downtown.
Sen. Lindsey Graham and members of Gov. Carroll Campbell’s family attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the courthouse named in his honor.
“It takes a village to build a courthouse, at a very minimum,” Graham said.
The $105-million Carroll A. Campbell Jr. United States Courthouse will be a 10-story, 193,000-square-foot facility that will house seven courtrooms and chambers for nine judges, along with offices for the U.S. Marshals Service, the U.S. Probation and Pretrial Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and a federal public defender. The project is primarily funded and led by the United States General Services Administration (GSA).
Graham said he hopes the courthouse represents the best in the rule of law.
“In America, the rich don’t pay because they can, only because they should,” Graham said. “And nobody is too poor or too small to challenge the mightiest of us all.”
Graham said construction on the project has been a long time coming.
“I’ve been doing this about 14 or 15 years now — it’s one of the most frustrating things I’ve done in politics, and I’m hoping it will be one of the more rewarding things,” Graham said.
Mayor Knox White said the courthouse had been in the planning stages for so long that former United States Rep. Jim DeMint helped advocate for its name prior to becoming a U.S. senator.
“That’s how long [ago] it was. I believe at the time we had the support of Congressman Abraham Lincoln as well,” White said.
White said the location of the courthouse is apt — prior to entering politics, Campbell ran a parking lot management company that sat across the street from the new federal courthouse lot. White said he also spent much of his free time talking to people at the Corner Pocket billiards bar, which sat a block down the street before it closed in 2014.
“His relationships, and the people, and the anecdotes, and the stories — 30 years later, we would hear about that man he met at the Corner Pocket and what he told him. It was immensely influential on him,” White said. “And we put the Carroll Campbell courthouse right there in his neighborhood.”