A look inside Essentia’s Vision Northland project

A look inside Essentia's Vision Northland project - clipped version
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:39 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 27, 2022 at 7:42 PM CDT
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DULUTH, MN. (KBJR) - If you’ve driven through downtown Duluth anytime in the last three years, there’s a good chance you’ve seen the largest private investment in the city’s history taking shape.

Essentia’s Vision Northland project is about a year out from welcoming staff and patients.

With 18 floors and almost a million square feet of space, it doesn’t look like your typical hospital.

“This really represents state of the art of healthcare right now,” said David Herman, CEO of Essentia Health.

According to Herman, their new hospital will offer traditional services like an ER, operating room, helipad, birthing rooms, and more.

But it also focuses on aesthetics for patients.

“Having a comfortable place in which to stay makes a huge difference for their recovery and recuperation,” said Herman.

The design process was a collaborative effort between architects and those with hands-on experience in the medical field.

“We asked them, where should things be on the headwall? Where should the garbage cans be?” Herman said.

With construction beginning in September of 2019, much of the building process happened during the pandemic

Jeff Dzurik is a Vice President with McGough Construction.

“I’ve been in this industry for 24 years,” said Dzurik.

He said the construction process was difficult at times.

“Definitely the last couple of years have been extremely challenging,” Dzurik said.

But according to Essentia leaders, the pandemic caused them to make early changes to the building’s ventilation systems to be able to treat large numbers of infectious patients in the future.

“As the care models changed and we learned from them throughout the pandemic, we changed the design of this building to meet those changes,” Herman said.

And according to Herman, the building will continue to change with the times.

“We’ve also designed this with the flexibility so this can continue to be the state of the art healthcare for at least 50 years,” Herman said.

Representatives with Essentia said the cost of the self-funded building was $900 million.

Some state funding was given to the medical district as a whole to help pay for infrastructure improvements in the area.

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