Mease Countryside Hospital has completed the first phase of its $156 million expansion pro-ject.

The Safety Harbor-Countryside area hospital has opened a four-story parking garage with 952 spaces and an elevated walkway connecting the garage to the hospital.

The entrance to the walkway is on the garage’s second level. Each floor of the four-story garage, is designated with a distinct color panel and a photo representing the Florida life-style. The public entrance to the parking garage is located off of Mease Drive.

After parking, patients and visitors will enter the pedestrian walkway from the second floor and then take stairs or an elevator down to the ground level, following marked walkways to the hospital entrance. Parking is free and valet service will continue.

"The opening of the garage was an important milestone in our campus transformation,” said Matt Novak, president of Mease Countryside Hospital. “The entire project is about improving the comfort and care of our patients and visitors with improved access to the hospital being the initial step.”

The construction of a new hospital pavilion is scheduled to be completed in 2021, according to a news release from Mease Countryside, part of the not-for-profit BayCare Health System. The pavilion project will add 70 private medical-surgical rooms and 34 private critical care rooms that will be in one unit.

In addition, a 30-bed observation unit will be added adjacent to the Emergency Department. Other renovations, including the alignment of inpatient and out-patient surgical services, are scheduled to be completed on 2022.