Essentia Health provides update on Vision Northland project

DULUTH, Minn. – What started as a vision to create a state of the art medical facility in Duluth is no longer just a vision. Essentia Health’s $800 million Vision Northland project has made and continues to make significant progress towards completion.

Dr. Robert Erickson, Physician Lead for Vision Northland, said the foundation has been set and steel erection has begun.

“The preparation of the site began a year ago,” Erickson said. “It’s just amazing the transformation.”

The building, which resembles that of a ship, will be over 900,000 square feet and have two towers. The hospital tower will rise 12 stories above East Second Street, while the clinic tower will rise eight stories above Superior Street.

As the largest private investment in Duluth’s history, Erickson foresees Vision Northland providing quality healthcare, new jobs and a noteworthy addition to the city’s skyline.

“I do think it is a ray of hope for the staff and patients during all of these times,” Erickson said.

According to Erickson, the building is being completed from the South end to the North end.

“The South end is between Superior Street and First Street and the North end is between First Street and Second Street,” Erickson said.

So far, much has been done to the South end.

“The South end of the building has been enclosed with plastic and they are working on mechanical, electrical and plumbing for those floors already and of all things –a dry wall has been erected in certain areas and they are even painting some areas in the South end of the building,” Erickson said.

And, work will continue on the North end even though winter has made itself known.

“As we go through the winter, we will see increased steel erection on the North end of the building—the hospital tower,” Erickson said.

A year from now, Erickson said steel erection is expected to be complete. At this time, workers will begin to enclose the structure.

In an effort to maintain Duluthians’ views, they plan to use a product called fritted glass. This product contains a series of dots on it that represent water and lake movement. Additionally, this product is intended to provide patients with ample shading, and reduce bird impacts.

Until then, more little milestones are expected to be completed. In February, Erickson said the skywalk from the First Street parking lot will be connected to the First Street building.

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