Essentia plans demolition of St. Mary’s when Vision Northland is complete

Essentia Health announced Tuesday that it plans to demolish the St. Mary’s Medical Center building when the Vision Northland project is complete.

The hospital said the decision was made in partnership with the Benedictine Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery over a three-year “discernment process.”

“The decision to demolish the aging hospital was not easy, especially when considering the important role the building has played in the history of Duluth, the Northland and the communities we serve,” Essentia Health CEO Dr. David Herman said.

The current building will remain open for patient care into 2023. Once the new St. Mary’s Medical Center hospital tower is fully operational, the old building will be demolished. Vision Northland is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023 but not open to patient care until the third quarter.

“The Benedictine Sisters began caring for our community on this site in 1898, so the hospital has served generations of families and their neighbors,” Sister Beverly Raway, Prioress of the St. Scholastica Monastery, said. 

Key factors in the decision to demolish included high operating and maintenance costs, especially the heating, cooling, electrical, and plumbing, according to Essentia.

The committee involved has also engaged city officials and community members, a press release said, to discuss “once-in-a-lifetime” redevelopment opportunities.