Empty, old hospital gets new life thanks to movie, TV productions

The old Piedmont Newnan Hospital closed in 2012 after 50 years, but it’s finding a busy second life as a set for movies and TV shows.OldNewnanHospital2

This summer alone, three productions used the hospital and five other buildings on campus for filming – back to back to back in June and July, said Zack Holt, Piedmont’s director of facilities management. He estimates at least a dozen have used the space in the last few years, including “The Walking Dead.”

“It comes in waves,” Holt says. “It’s like they have seasons.”

Most recently, it was Season 2 of the TV series “The Gifted.”

That’s all been a nice economic boost for the hospital, which is up for sale. Holt declined to give economic figures.

Production crews often put up facades and other set decorations on site. Usually, they’re required to return the place to the condition they found it.

“But the building is so old and vacant that when they make an enhancement to the space, you just let them leave it,” he said.

For instance, one production installed, and paid for, a working elevator when the hospital had none. Another tore out old carpeting to reveal more attractive hardwood floors.

“It’s nice,” Holt says. “It’s a benefit.”

Other benefits extend to the community, where production crews, sometimes more than 100 people, support hotels, restaurants, shops and service companies. Local residents are sometimes hired as extras.

“The restaurant businesses and the hotel industry appreciate it,” he says. “Piedmont appreciates it, too. As I learned, it is lucrative and beneficial for the county to have that amount of money come in.”

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