Published on October 22, 2020

Vision Northland crews to erect steel linking Essentia Health’s two towers

Vision Northland Construction Project

Crews will erect structural steel next week to span East First Street and create the first link between the two towers that make up Essentia Health’s landmark construction project.

It’s the next major milestone for Essentia Health’s Vision Northland project, which is building a replacement for St. Mary’s Medical Center and clinic space in downtown Duluth.

Eight steel trusses, some weighing up to 85,000 pounds, will form the link between the lower clinic tower along Superior Street and the hospital tower along East Second Street.

“It’s like building a bridge between the two towers over the span of First Street,” explains Dan Cebelinski, Essentia Health’s director of facilities. “When construction is complete, First Street will be open to pedestrians and vehicles that will travel underneath the new building.”

The new 942,000-square-foot medical facility will stretch from East Second Street to Superior Street along Fourth Avenue East. The design incorporates the hillside and the building stair-steps the hill.

Foundations have been completed for the new St. Mary’s Medical Center near Second Street and structural steel began being erected for the hospital tower in late September. Crews are expected to top the 15-story hospital tower in November 2021. They’ve already reached the top patient-care floor of the smaller clinic tower on Superior Street.

The project’s 13,000 tons of structural steel are being fabricated by LeJeune Steel in its plants in Minneapolis and western Wisconsin. All the steel is made in America.

Construction is expected to be complete in the first quarter of 2023. Essentia Health will then begin a rigorous orientation and training schedule to ensure staff is fully prepared to care for patients safely utilizing new technology and equipment before the hospital opens for patient care in the third quarter of 2023.

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