Essentia Health celebrates one year of Vision Northland construction

One year after work started to build a new St. Mary’s Medical Center and clinic space on Essentia Health’s downtown Duluth campus, the construction site is showing considerable progress, the company said Monday.

Landmarks in the construction process include:

  • More than 41,000 cubic yards of rock has been removed.
  • 17,500 cubic yards of concrete has been poured.
  • 2,300 tons of steel has been erected.

The $900 million project is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023. The new hospital is scheduled to open for patient care in the third quarter of 2023. It will include about 942,000 square feet of new construction, Essentia said in a news release.

McGough Construction is the construction manager.

“Essentia Health and the Vision Northland planning team would like to extend our thanks to the skilled men and women of the trades to help make our vision a reality,” said Dr. Robert Erickson, Essentia’s physician lead for the project.

More than 50 percent of the tradespeople working on Vision Northland are members of local unions. Nine subcontractors are headquartered in Duluth and four in Superior.

Upon completion, it will be the tallest building in Duluth, towering  15 stories above First Street and 12 stories above Second Street.

According to Phil Johnson, project manager for McGough, crews are building the equivalent of 26,000 square feet per month.

“McGough is thrilled to be working on such a historic and momentous project,” Johnson said. “While McGough has been diligently planning and executing this project for more than two years, none of this would have been possible without the numerous local and regional trade partners that have excelled throughout the process. We are very fortunate to work with such a great team that stresses both safety and quality.” 

The project will be the largest private investment in Duluth’s history, Essentia officials said. It's objective is to enhance Essentia’s ability to deliver high-quality patient care.

“On this one-year anniversary of construction, with the first scoop of soil and every subsequent beam raised, Essentia Health envisions our future facility enhancing patient care, along with improving the health care experience of patients and staff,” Dr. Erickson said.