GREENFIELD — Since the Gateway Hancock Health center first opened at I-70 and Mt. Comfort Road in September 2019, the second floor of the two-story building has remained virtually empty, but that’s about to change.

“We built that structure with a second floor specifically for the ability to add new functions, and now that we’re seeing what those needs are, we’re ready to pull the trigger,” said Steve Long, Hancock Health’s president and CEO.

The space will soon be transformed into physicians’ offices, with a mix of primary care and specialty practices, with some space devoted to an employer-based clinic and occupational health.

Hancock Physician Network’s president Brian Muckerheide said the move will fulfill Hancock Health’s mission to bring advanced health care to the west end of the county along the rapidly growing Mt. Comfort Corridor, otherwise known as CR 600 West.

Construction will soon get underway, he said, with the hopes of having the work complete late next summer.

That’s when a handful of primary care physicians and specialists are expected to move into the building, with primary care doctors setting up permanent offices and specialists using shared space on a rotating basis.

Long said the timing was finally right to utilize Gateway’s second floor after more than three years of having it sit empty as hospital officials pondered the best use of the space.

When COVID hit the county in March 2020, the plan was to use the space as an overflow area for the influx of COVID-19 patients at Hancock Regional Hospital, but the extra space was never needed.

Long said transforming Gateway’s second floor into physicians’ offices is exactly what the county needs right now.

“We remain one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, and that growth is up and down Mt. Comfort Road, so that has been the focus of our expansion the last several years,” he said.

“Gateway is the strategic center of all of that growth, so we always knew that’s where we’d want to invest,” said Long.

The upcoming transformation on Gateway’s second floor coincides with the transformation taking place just outside the health center, where a Starbucks recently opened and a senior living campus is under construction on the 144-acre parcel of land owned by Hancock Health.

Indianapolis-based senior living developer, Avenue Development, is developing the Randall Residence at Gateway Park, a senior living campus that will feature independent living cottages as well as assisted living and memory care residential options.

The community will offer residents access to on-site amenities including multiple dining venues, a theater, fitness equipment, a salon and group activity areas, along with outdoor spaces designed with a focus on wellness.

Long said the outdoor walking path — including a scenic bridge over a water feature, with a fountain that lights up at night — will benefit both Randall residents as well as the public.

He encourages anyone who wants to enjoy a relaxing walk to park at the Gateway center, grab a coffee from Starbucks and enjoy a leisurely stroll or energetic walk or run along the walking trails, which will eventually cover a three-mile path.

The winding trail, scenic bridge and lighted water feature provide a setting unlike any other found in Hancock County, said Long. The trail is a great place to unwind with a leisurely stroll or to get some exercise, he said, which plays into the Gateway center’s focus on overall health and wellness.

The development is part of Hancock Health’s mission to create an attractive gateway leading into Hancock County, along both I-70 from the east and west and the Mt. Comfort Corridor from the north and south.

Long said two roundabouts along CR 200 North — at county roads 600 West and 700 West — will soon help ease traffic flow, especially along the Mt. Comfort Corridor.

“There isn’t a schedule for it yet, but we know that that is the ultimate vision for that area,” he said.