Published on July 28, 2022

Media tour a chance to show off Vision Northland progress

Vision Northland cafeteriaAbout a year before the first patient is cared for at the replacement St. Mary’s Medical Center on Essentia Health’s downtown Duluth campus, media were invited on-site Wednesday for a behind-the-scenes look at construction progress.

Twin Ports reporters and photographers came away impressed. The interior, a hub of activity with hundreds of construction workers on-site, is quickly taking shape, with thoughtful design elements throughout. The breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the hillside remain wildly popular among visitors.

The tour was led by Essentia CEO David C. Herman, MD; Dr. Robert Erickson, Essentia’s physician lead for Vision Northland; Dan Cebelinski, facilities director for Essentia; and Phil Johnson and Jeff Dzurik with McGough Construction. It included stops on the sixth floor, the operating rooms on the seventh floor, labor and delivery space and the NICU and PICU.

Highlights included robust discussion of:

Vision Northland waiting area• The fritted glass used throughout the project, which helps deter bird strikes.

Underrepresented workers — women, minorities or veterans, for example — accounting for 21% of the project’s total workforce, which far exceeds Essentia’s initial goal of 8%.

• The patient privacy that will result from single-occupancy rooms.

• The project’s status as about 80% complete.

• Enhanced and more efficient patient flow.

• Essentia’s commitment to incorporating feedback from our staff and patients in the design of the 942,000-square-foot facility.

• The painstaking detail evident in the canoe-tiled ceiling of the sixth-floor cafeteria, as well as other finished spaces.

Vision Northland hallwayThe sheer volume of work being done — there are nearly 700 workers on-site and, since the project began in the fall of 2019, more than 2 million worker hours have been logged.

Here is a sampling of media coverage from the tour:

• From KBJR: A look inside Essentia’s Vision Northland project

• From the Duluth News Tribune: Vision Northland progress: New hospital on track to accept patients in a year

• From WDIO: Vision Northland building nearing completion

• From Fox 21: Construction work on Vision Northland nearing completion

Dr. David Herman