SAFETY HARBOR – Mease Countryside Hospital is starting a major expansion and renovation project that will create a more connected hospital campus by adding a new four-story patient tower with all private rooms and four-story parking garage with an elevated pedestrian walkway.

“We are responding to the growing needs of our surrounding community by enhancing access and efficiency, which we believe will improve the experience of our patients and their families,” said Lou Galdieri in a press release. Galdieri is president of Mease Countryside Hospital. “When complete, we will increase the number of private hospital rooms from 31 to 82 percent.”

Designed to create continuous platforms of care that support clinical excellence, the new patient tower will feature 70 private patient rooms, a 30-bed patient observation unit, critical care services combined into one cohesive unit with additional eight progressive care facilities, increased capacity for Women’s Care by adding patient rooms and more Level II Neonatal Intensive Care beds, expanded outpatient pharmacy, new outpatient chemotherapy and infusion services and a new endoscopy unit. The new patient tower will align inpatient and outpatient surgical services into one space.

“Our parking and access to the hospital will change dramatically with the addition of a 950-space parking garage,” said Galdieri.

An elevated pedestrian walkway connected to the new tower will give patients, visitors, hospital staff and physicians easier access to the hospital. The elevated pedestrian walkway will take people over Mease Drive which bisects the hospital campus. Landscaping will help emphasize green spaces and act as buffers to discourage pedestrian traffic on the street level.

Patient and visitor comfort is also part of the design with an outdoor courtyard with dining and seating areas, a children’s play space and a water feature.

“We want to provide visitors with a relaxing area that incorporates natural elements,” said Galdieri.

Construction of the new parking garage will begin in February with completion estimated for October. The next phase will be the new patient tower with estimated completion in August 2020.

The architect for Mease Countryside’s expansion and renovation is Freeman-White of Charlotte, North Carolina; and the contractor is Haskell of Jacksonville.