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A Century of Care on Prince Avenue

From 1919 to 2019, Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center has kept its doors open on Prince Avenue in Athens for all who need healing.

As part of Athens-Clarke County history, the hospital has proudly served the community for generations.

A photo of the Athens General Hospital building in 1926, featured above, was taken from the corner of Prince and Talmadge where the Piedmont Athens Regional sign stands now and represents just how far the hospital has come since it was first built.

Photographs from the University of Georgia Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library are a reminder of how much the Athens community has changed, since Piedmont Athens Regional opened for business.

The photo below was the view from College Avenue from the Arches, taken about two years after the hospital opened.

As the town of Athens has changed over 100 years, the Piedmont Athens Regional building has evolved as well. The diagram below shows the floors of Prince Tower, which are labeled in black to indicate the decade during which each section was built. After original construction, subsequent additions were added to the Prince Tower in 1949, 1955, and 1976. The section in red, with 1920 at its core, represents the area that will be replaced by the new patient tower, which is set to be completed in 2022.

One of Piedmont Athens Regional's most tenured employees, Angela Billups, who currently works as the manager of dietary services at Piedmont Athens Regional, remembers what it was like when she first started at the hospital in 1968.

“When I first started working here in 1968, I was amazed at the building, how big and clean it was,” remembers Angela Billups, manager in Dietary. Her mother had worked at Athens General Hospital in Housekeeping so she knew the facility already.

“I’ve grown up in this place. I’m overwhelmed to see how far we’ve come. When we had the first helicopter flight, I cried!” said Billups.

As the hospital prepares to begin building its new patient tower, leaders are making plans of what to from Piedmont Athens Regional's history to save. Staff from The Piedmont Athens Regional Foundation are working with the architectural and construction teams to preserve historic elements from the original buildings.

These elements may include bricks from the Prince Tower One cornice, two cornerstones, the gazebo, and other plaques or inscriptions throughout the building.

 As construction continues, the DPR Construction team are working to blend new portions of the hospital with existing structures, and the vertical expansion exterior on Prince Tower Two is beginning to look like the existing hospital where it joins, shown in the photo below.

 

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