Essentia Health is transforming our downtown Duluth medical campus to match our facilities with how medicine is practiced in the 21st century and to bring the highest quality health care to the Northland. We also want to boost economic development while we attract and retain top medical professionals in our community.

We will continue to care for patients as we build a replacement hospital bed tower, clinic space and surgical suites.

We pledge to keep you informed about developments because we know the critical role you play in keeping our community informed.

To set up interviews, please call our Communications Director Shannon Dahnke at (218) 576-0052 or email Shannon.


Here are our media releases on the project we’re calling Vision Northland:

What you need to know now

Rock blasting underway

Crews are blasting rock twice each weekday as part of Essentia Health’s Vision Northland construction project.

Blasting began Dec. 3 and will continue through April. Blasts are scheduled for noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Patients, visitors, staff and our neighbors may hear a thud from a blast or hear air horns signaling the upcoming blast. They may also feel vibrations.

Crews are doing what they can to mitigate noise and vibrations. Safety always comes first.

The work to excavate 44,000 cubic yards of basalt is being done along Fourth Avenue East, from Superior Street to East Second Street. This is the site of the replacement hospital for St. Mary’s Medical Center and new clinic space. Crews will start at Superior Street and work up the hill to East Second Street.

Conservative and strict limits have been set on the blasting. Each blasting area is covered with mats and tires so there is no flying rock. Sensors around the site monitor vibrations and safety officers are on site.

Here is the blasting procedure and a video of the blasting procedure:

  • At 15-30 minutes before blast: Blaster-in-charge communicates with representatives from Essentia Health and McGough Construction to confirm plans.
  • At 5 minutes before blast: Guards are stationed at all designated site entry and exit points. Traffic is stopped in blast area and guards are in direct communication with blaster-in-charge via two-way radio.
  • At 5 minutes before blast: Warning signal is a 1-minute series of long air horn blasts.
  • At 1 minute before blast: Blasting signal is a 1-minute series of short air horn blasts.
  • Blast, which sounds more like a thud than a bang.
  • After blast: All-clear signal is a prolonged horn blast following inspection of blast area. Blaster-in-charge releases guards and notifies site manager that work may resume.

Construction Updates

See what we’re building. Take a virtual reality tour of the facility’s exterior.