‘Vision Northland’ No Longer Just A Vision

‘Vision Northland’ is no longer just a vision. After extensive planning and preparation, Essentia Health broke ground on their $800 million project. As the largest private investment in Duluth’s history, the building will provide jobs, healthcare and a noteworthy addition to the city’s skyline.

“With the glass curtain wall, it’s going to be a beautiful building and you’ll see most of that type of construction in big city so Duluth has made the big city list,” Craig Olson, President of Duluth Building And Construction Trades Council said.

The building, which resembles that of a ship will be 900,000 square feet with a 12 story tower that overlooks both the city of Duluth and Lake Superior.

Contractors say that they worked hard to maintain Duluthians’ views by using a product called fritted glass. This product has a series of dots on it that represent water and lake movement, serving as a physical reminder of Duluth’s beauty. Additionally, this product is intended to provide patients with ample shading, and reduce bird impacts.

“It’s really intended to help soften the community through that wavelike reference but then at night it will also serve as a guiding, wayfinding point within the community,” Scott Garand, Contractor said.

Collectively, Essentia estimates that there will be several thousand people who work on the building over the next four years.

“We have done a very good job of diversifying the trades—recruiting females, minorities and I was happy to announce we have over 600 first year apprentices in Duluth that are working in the trades right now,” Olson said.

Daunting as the project originally seemed, doctors and nurses hope that combining all of their facilities into one will allow them to collaborate more, as well as, be more efficient.

“We are so excited!” Erickson said. “I’ve practiced here for 28 years and Saint Mary’s has served us well throughout the years, but at this time, it has its limitations so we are really looking forward to a new facility that will allow us to enhance the patient experience.”

As much as the hospital means to doctors and nurses, it means even more to the public.

“The new facility is not only a representation of the health care needs and the health care environment, but also it’s a gift back to the community of Duluth,” Garand said. “So there will be quite a few amenities that are associated with it,” he added.

Amenities include a dining center, shops, conference rooms, classrooms, an outpatient pharmacy and a chapel. These amenities are intended to make patients and staff feel at home, while simultaneously improving healthcare as a whole.

“Vision Northland represents more than a beautiful, state of the art medical facility. It signifies transformation of the care that we provide,” Dr. Robert Erickson said.

Watch the full virtual reality tour below.

Essentia’s ‘Vision Northland’ Project is set to be completed in 2022.