Groundbreaking for Essentia Wellness Center in Hermantown

An official groundbreaking for the new Essentia Wellness Center in Hermantown took place on Tuesday. An official groundbreaking for the new Essentia Wellness Center in Hermantown took place on Tuesday. |  Photo: WDIO

Updated: July 10, 2018 11:55 AM

Construction hasn't quite ramped up yet for the new Essentia Wellness Center in Hermantown, but the excitement is building.

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"Community members keep asking when it will be open," said John Mulder, city administrator for Hermantown. 

After all, the $25 million dollar facility off of Ugstad Road will boast an aquatics center, clinic, YMCA, and early education programs. It's expected to see 1000 visitors a day, and serve 60,000 people in the region.

Mike Lundstrom, a volunteer on the project, said, "The Essentia Wellness Center will offer a new, vibrant gathering space for our area community. From the cradle to the rocker."

He spoke to a crowd who'd gathered for the official groundbreaking of the project on Tuesday morning.

"We're here to also celebrate the partners who've been with us in the process on this long journey," Lundstrom said. Hermantown, the schools, Essentia Health, the Duluth Area Family YMCA, St. Louis County, 15 regional townships and the state of Minnesota all worked together to make this happen.

It all started five years ago when citizens heard that St. Louis County ranked near the bottom when it came to health outcomes. "We knew we could do better, and that's why we're standing here today," added Lundstrom.

Once construction gets going within the month, it will take a good year to finish the center. Right now, demolition is ongoing at the old middle school. A portion of the building will become part of the new space.

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