FORT VALLEY -- Peach County residents and hospital staff said goodbye to Peach Regional Medical Center on Thursday. The building is being replaced by the new Medical Center of Peach County located on the Ga. 247 Connector in Byron.
People gathered in the lobby of Peach Regional, where Frank Sinatra and gospel music played interchangeably.
Its a farewell ceremony to this old, kind of tired building, said Nancy Peed, CEO of Peach Regional. Its also a celebration of our new future to where were going to go at our new facility.
Peed spoke to those in attendance about the memories made and lessons learned in the almost 60-year-old building.
Today, as we stand at a crossroads, let us not forget the lessons weve learned at this dear place, Peed said.
Priscilla Yaughn, recently retired director of human resources, shared her memories and lessons in a poem. Yaughn said Peach Regional has seen everything from newborn babies to broken bones and surgery.
Theres no room at all for sadness, Yaughn said. Just a little nostalgia instead.
Yaughn said Peach County may be bidding farewell to the walls of Peach Regional but not to the care and special touch of the staff.
After a candlelight ceremony, attendees were invited to share their memories with each other.
Well miss the building, said Tom Green, chairman of the Peach County Hospital Authority and the new medical center. Green was born at Peach Regional, and his parents, siblings and children all have been treated there. But we wont miss it long, he said. If Greens grandchildren ever need hospital care, they will go to the new medical center.
Peach Regional holds memories for Byron Mayor Larry Collins, who said his wife began her first job as a registered nurse at Peach Regional in 1961. Despite the memories, Collins said the goodbyes were more exciting than sad.
Its almost like going to a funeral for someone whos lived a well-lived life, he said.
Collins said the new hospital should bring good things to Byron and the surrounding communities.
The new $28 million building is about 15,000 square feet larger than the old one and will be a dramatic upgrade in equipment and technology for the hospital.
Peach County will say hello to The Medical Center of Peach County on Thursday. A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.
The medical center will be open to patients on July 16.
Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Emily Farlow, call 744-4225.