Historic Academy of Medicine Celebrates 70th Anniversary and Grand Reopening
Restored Venue to Accommodate Campus Events
Posted December 12, 2011 | Atlanta, GA
After an extensive multimillion-dollar restoration, the Historic Academy of Medicine will be unveiled during a grand reopening on December 15. Now owned and operated by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the 70-year-old property will provide a historic venue for the Institute as well as a unique location for private events.
The year-long historic restoration was funded by Georgia Tech Facilities Inc. primarily to accommodate the Institute's requirements for large and small meetings and events, as well as wedding and special corporate or civic events depending on availability. Rental revenues will be used to offset restoration costs and operation and maintenance of the building.
The restored venue offers the flexibility to accommodate events ranging from small meetings to weddings and special corporate events, according to Shawn Stinson, event coordinator for the Academy.
“Because of its proximity to Technology Square, the Academy is very much a part of the Institute’s master development plan,” said Howard Wertheimer, director of Capital Planning and Space Management at Georgia Tech. “We are pleased to play a role in preserving this important icon of Atlanta’s past while also using environmentally sound building techniques to make sure the building can be enjoyed by generations to come.”
One of the few Atlanta buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and designated with Landmark status by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission, the Academy of Medicine was designed by renowned Atlanta architect Philip Schutze and features neoclassical architecture such as distinctive Doric columns. The 19,000-square-foot building also includes a 230-seat theater and six event spaces.
A focal point of the Academy is the entry portico and rotunda, where black and white Italian marble floors are accented by the illustrious Czechoslovakian chandelier made famous after its inclusion on the movie set of "Gone with the Wind." In addition, the Academy features historic artwork and furniture along with museum-quality medical artifacts on display throughout the building.
Although the building’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places limited architectural changes to the original structure, environmentally friendly construction techniques were used during the restoration process, with the facility currently targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification. The Academy’s restoration was managed by two Macon-based firms. Dunwody/Beeland Architects Inc. led design efforts while Chris R. Sheridan served as the general contractor.
The Academy of Medicine represents one of the few nonresidential projects by Shutze, who was responsible for designing homes such as the Swan House. He also holds the distinction of being a member of the first entering class of architecture students at Georgia Tech in 1908.
Originally known as the Fulton County Medical Society, the Academy once served as a resource to Atlanta physicians who used the library, meeting space and telephone service center located there. In 1970, the organization changed its name to the Medical Association of Georgia. In 1981, ownership was transferred to the newly formed Atlanta Medical Heritage Inc. that spearheaded an approximate $1 million restoration project.
Atlanta Medical Heritage transferred ownership of the historic landmark to the Georgia Tech Foundation in 2008. The action took place after the nonprofit group faced challenges generating the resources necessary to maintain the venue. The decision to transfer the property to the Foundation was based on Georgia Tech’s historic ties to the design of the building and because of the proximity of the landmark to the Institute’s Technology Square complex.
The Georgia Tech Foundation accepted the gift on behalf of Georgia Tech. At the time of the property transfer, the Foundation expressed gratitude and appreciation to the members of the Atlanta Medical Heritage Board for their partnership and generous donation.
According to the Foundation, partnerships remain the core of a strong and vibrant university, and the Academy of Medicine serves as a reminder of the generosity of benefactors who are extending Georgia Tech’s legacy of excellence well into the decades to come.
Included on the Georgia Tech Trolley route, the Academy provides an easily accessible amenity for the entire campus community. Those interested in learning more about the Academy’s restoration or venue rental can visit www.academy.gatech.edu or call 404.894.1414.