Piedmont Summerville. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
Piedmont Summerville. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Ribbon cutting ceremony marks Piedmont Summerville’s reopening

Hospital officials thought they were saving a “valued community asset” when they purchased Augusta’s Trinity Hospital in 2017, but they had no idea that space would become a saving grace in a  time of crisis.

“At the time, we could never anticipate how vitally important the availability of this campus would be until we faced our first global pandemic,” said Hugh Hamilton, chairman of the Piedmont Augusta Board and member of the Richmond County Hospital Authority, at a May 15 ribbon cutting ceremony prior to the May 16 grand reopening of Piedmont Summerville.

Dr. Lily Henson, Piedmont Augusta CEO, at the May 15 ribbon cutting at Piedmont Summerville. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

During the pandemic, the hospital which was founded in 1952 as St. Joseph Hospital, served as a center for COVID-19 patients, freeing up space at the main campus for other patients.

As COVID waned, patients were once again centralized at the main campus, but the building wasn’t left vacant.

In December 2023, it housed displaced residents of a senior center whose pipes burst in the cold. They had no family and nowhere else to go.

It also has been the location for Augusta Technical College nursing students to learn in a practical setting.

Augusta Tech president Jermaine Whirl said they’d outgrown their campus facility when he arrived in 2020. Constructing a new building at Augusta Tech would’ve taken years they didn’t have when there was a critical need for nurses.               

Reopening the hospital has been a priority of Dr. Lily Henson, Piedmont Augusta CEO. It’s especially important, she said, in a time when hospitals around the country are closing.

“From every perspective reopening Summerville and making it better than ever is in perfect alignment with Piedmont’s promise of making a positive difference in every life we touch,” she said.

Piedmont Summerville’s ambulance. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Services to be offered initially are a 24-hour, 15-bed emergency department, a 12-bed inpatient unit and new and enhanced imaging services. Outpatient services to continue will be a renovated occupational medicine suite and wound and hyperbaric services, diabetes services, laboratory, Coumadin Clinic, Piedmont Primary Care and Piedmont Heart in the Summerville Medical Building, according to a May 1 news release from the hospital.

Even with the opening, there are still two units that are not being currently used, which will allow for future expansion and added services.

“We’re really excited to talk more about that as they come to fruition,” she said.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News and Inspiring: Women of Augusta, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Sign up for the newsletter here.

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