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Home > Vision Northland/Duluth Building Project > Videos
Date: Jan. 12, 2021
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(DESCRIPTION)An artist rendering of Essentia Health St. Mary's Medical Center, then aerial footage of the construction.
(SPEECH)SPEAKER 1: What started as a dream is becoming reality in downtown Duluth and transforming the city skyline between 42nd Street and Superior Street. Along Fourth Avenue East, Essentia Health's striking new state-of-the-art medical facility is taking shape. The project, called Vision Northland, is building a new St. Mary's Medical Center and attached clinic. The facility will cost about $900 million and encompass 942,000 square feet as Essentia makes the largest private investment in the city's history. Construction
(DESCRIPTION)Time lapse construction sequence
(SPEECH)started in September 2019 and will be complete in 2023. A sleek, modern design will maximize breathtaking views of Lake Superior and the hillside of downtown Duluth. Patients at the new hospital will have private rooms, which aligns with our objective of enhancing the patient and staff experience. Practicing medicine is ever evolving.
(DESCRIPTION)A construction worker wears a hardhat and mask.
(SPEECH)Vision Northland will position Essentia to seamlessly keep pace with technological advances that allow for the highest quality of care. Essentia will be the focal point of a bustling medical hub that draws patients from across the region and helps recruit and retain top talent. Already construction crews have reached the top of the eight-story clinic tower on Superior Street. The 15-story hospital tower, set to become the tallest building in Duluth, continues to climb skyward.
(DESCRIPTION)Two workers on girders.
(SPEECH)It will be topped in December 2021. Trusses already have been placed for the span over East First Street that will connect the towers. Progress is easy to observe, with close to 200 workers on site each day.
(DESCRIPTION)Other works perform various tasks around the site.
(SPEECH)That number could reach as many as 600 at the peak. Crews are building the equivalent of 26,000 square feet per month. The project's general contractor is McGuff Construction. Together with a Duluth Building and Construction Trades Council, we're working to provide good-paying jobs in our community. More than 50% of the tradespeople working on Vision Northland are members of local unions. Nine subcontractors are headquartered in Duluth and four in Superior. This project has been and will continue to be a boon to our local economy. Throughout its duration, the project will provide more than 5,600 on-site construction jobs and 3,600 off-site construction-related jobs. Those workers have been busy, too. More than 5,500 tons of structural steel have been erected, and more than 22,000 cubic yards of concrete have been poured. Also, 43,000 cubic yards of rock have been removed. When the new St. Mary's hospital opens, we'll be ready to serve our patients in the Northland for generations to come. We are building on the pioneering spirit and guiding vision of holistic healing of our founders, the Benedictine sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery. So while the physical space changes, our values and commitment to this place remain the same as they were when St. Mary's was founded in 1888.
(DESCRIPTION)A 3D model of the new complex. The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.
(SPEECH) DAVID C. HERMAN: Vision Northland is a term that we've used to encompass a large, large project.
(DESCRIPTION) Text, David C. Herman, M. D. , Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH) And what it is it's about redesigning health to make it easier for patients, make it easier providers, better access, and more affordability.
(DESCRIPTION) A group photo of suited men and women in white uniforms. Five men sit in front. Another black and white photo shows workers in white coats and a nun in a habit and wimple seated at a desk.
(SPEECH) We've been very fortunate, for the people that came before us left us beautiful facilities that were built literally back in the 1920s all the way through the 1990s.
(DESCRIPTION) A sepia photo of multi-story buildings with ornate moldings. A color photo of a large brick building.
(SPEECH) As health care has evolved, those facilities don't serve us as well now as they did in the past.
(DESCRIPTION) A nurse in a white cap stands over a patient's bed as a doctor sits to take notes. An old-fashioned telephone sits on the bedside table. David Herman sits next to a table with a model of buildings.
(SPEECH) We know that health care's changed tremendously in my lifetime and certainly over the last 20 to 30 years.
(DESCRIPTION) In a black and white photo, a nurse bends over a crib to smile at an infant.
(SPEECH) And it's our expectation that it will continue to change the next 20, 30, 50 years. What the Vision Northland project allows us to do is to build that platform of care that can continue to evolve as health care evolves to provide the highest level of care for the people we're privileged to serve.
(DESCRIPTION) A building in the model next to Herman transforms into a 3D computer model of the Essentia Health Duluth Clinic.
(SPEECH) The physical manifestation of Vision Northland is the facility. This is a 928,000 square foot facility, a 12 story replacement bed tower with operating rooms, inpatient, and outpatient space. It'll extend from Second Street down to Superior Street.
(DESCRIPTION) The clinic is a long glass building with an oval tower. It is built into a hillside, with its lower sections made of blocky wooden structures with glass above.
(SPEECH) Many of our patients now share a room with another patient. None of the patients will share a room with another patient in the new Vision Northland bed tower.
(DESCRIPTION) An illustration of one of the rooms. A child sits in a patient bed in a sunny room holding a teddy bear. A visitor sits by the floor-to-ceiling window, and a care provider in a white coat walks in on the left.
(SPEECH) Within those rooms, we'll have space for the patient, space for the caregivers like the nurses and the physicians, but also space for the family.
(DESCRIPTION) A care provider uses a stethoscope to listen to a baby's heartbeat while another woman looks on. A mobile hangs above the hospital crib.
(SPEECH) The focus of this facility is the patient. When we made the decision to do this, we knew that we would need to have people skilled, thoughtful, and creative to help us build this building. We interviewed multiple firms. And we have been extremely honored and pleased to work with EwingCole. The time that they took to learn the community, to learn us, to learn what we wanted and what our patients wanted, and to bring that together in a physical manifestation that will become this facility has been absolutely phenomenal.
(DESCRIPTION) A 3D model of the building's entrance. Cars on a circular driveway near wide glass doorways under glass arches. A sign above the doors reads, Essentia Health, St. Mary's Medical Center, Main Entrance.
(SPEECH) SAUL S. JABBAWY: It's a privilege of a lifetime to work on a site like this.
(DESCRIPTION) A man stands on a rocky shoreline with trees. Text, Saul S. Jabbawy, EwingCole Director of Design.
(SPEECH) And the amazing thing about the lake is the many aspect it plays in the life of the community.
(DESCRIPTION) A bird's eye view of buildings by the water, moving toward a ship entering through a high gate. The gate stretches across an opening between buildings surrounding part of a waterway.
(SPEECH) So the building had to be about the lake in many ways.
(DESCRIPTION) A 3D model of the oval tower overlooking the shining waters of the lake. A seating area with two-story windows and a curving art installation that stretches across wide columns, with planter benches and a wall of greenery. A windowed partition separates another seating area with lounges and chairs from other chairs by sunny floor-to-ceiling windows.
(SPEECH) The building access is actually perpendicular to the lake. So the longer sides of the building actually have a view into the lake. Well, the public amenities, the cafeteria, the roof garden, the balconies are all about the lake. When the fog was coming out of the lake, it was sort of an epic image.
(DESCRIPTION) Fog drifts from water towards rock walls along a shoreline. Mist shrouds the base of a distant lighthouse, and cloudy gray sky blurs the sun in the background.
(SPEECH) And we thought, wow, that's really incredible. At the same time, we're trying to figure out, how can we make this building not look institutional? Even though it's glass, we didn't want it to look like a glass corporate tower.
(DESCRIPTION) On the 3D model, sunlight shines through the building at points on each floor as we move around the building.
(SPEECH) And the other thing is we also knew that there is a issue of the bird strikes.
(DESCRIPTION) A gray-and-white bird perches on the side of a tree.
(SPEECH) Then we're like thinking, maybe we can combine this whole idea. Maybe the building can be all about that fog. And the freight pattern, which is the pattern that you apply to the glass in order to avoid bird strikes, can become that sort of the wavy, soft form of the fog. We've seen some of the mockups. It's going to be really fantastic. And it's really a project about health care. But it's also a project about a place.
(DESCRIPTION) The tower is covered in wavy gray glass. Jabbawy walks along the waterside, beneath spindly branches and by low waves that stretch to hazy blue sky in the background.
(SPEECH) DAVID C. HERMAN: For me, the real inspirational part of this was seeing our caregivers get together and really use their inspiration, their knowledge of the patients that we serve, their knowledge of health care, and put those final touches upon it that will really make it better for our patients.
(DESCRIPTION) Women in medical scrubs stand in a life-sized model of a room. A handwritten sign on part of the model reads Fridge for Formula and Breast Milk in red text, with a wavy black line drawn through the text. A woman in black writes on a sheet on the wall beneath red text, NICU Feedback. Text, Stacy Lund, Essentia Health Director of Surgical Services, Twin Ports.
(SPEECH) STACY LUND: We had multiple opportunities to involve our team. And we are very cognizant of doing that. We marked up an operating room, the preadmission space, the plethysmographic care bay. We know that we provide quality care, patient-centered care today.
(DESCRIPTION) Lund wears scrubs and sits by a patient bed in an operating room.
(SPEECH) What this allows us to do is bring it to the next level. So we're able to bring in some technology that we don't have the ability to have today.
(DESCRIPTION) Women in scrubs walk around the mock-up of the NICU -- around equipment on the floor and past an image of the view through a floor-to-ceiling window. On its walls are collections of photos and of handwritten notes with suggestions.
(SPEECH) This really is an opportunity that you get once in a lifetime. And to be able to provide this type of facility and this type of mainstage and keep it here with the values already established allows us to just take that one step further.
(DESCRIPTION) A mock-up of a patient's room, shots of handwritten suggestions, and a hand pointing out features on a printed floor plan. A bird's eye view of buildings along a waterfront. A covered glass crosswalk stretches between two buildings over a street with construction equipment and vehicles. Text, Vision Northland Construction Site
(SPEECH) DAVID C. HERMAN: I want to thank people for their patience. But I can tell them with a large amount of confidence that the little bit of disruption we're going to have here is going to be very, very worth it.
(DESCRIPTION) A crane lowers a beam to the ground.
(SPEECH) What we will expect over the next three years is there will be a lot of activity on the Duluth campus.
(DESCRIPTION) Construction equipment and tracks on the site.
(SPEECH) We will first see the site being cleared. We will see the steel go up.
(DESCRIPTION) A backhoe excavates ground. The 3D model of the finished structure, moving from the tower at the upper part of the slope to the entryway near the waterside.
(SPEECH) We will then encase it in the glass on the outside. And then, it will take a year to finish the inside. This will not feel as if it was something that was picked up from Los Angeles or New York and placed in Duluth. This will be a part of Duluth, feel like it's integrated within the community, within the neighborhood, within the preferences of our patients, and the preferences of their caregivers to make it really a place like nowhere else.
(DESCRIPTION) The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.
(DESCRIPTION)A three-dimensional digital rendering of a building with one curved wall entirely of windows. A sign above a walkway reads, Essentia Health, Duluth Clinic. Another side of the building is revealed, again entirely of windows. A glass walkway at the second story extends across the road. An entrance through the wall of the building features a red sign that says, Emergency Department. On the other side of the Emergency Department entrance, the building rises a dozen stories higher, the surface entirely covered in windows. Rounding another corner, a plaza outside is separated from the building by pillars. Inside the glass of the first floor is an atrium with additional pillars. A sign saying Main Entrance is over the entrance at the end of a round drop-off circle under the tall part of the building. The tall glass portion of the building allows views all the way through to its other side, since the walls are made of glass. A lake is visible past the building, and from the building's upper floors. A boat sits on the water. The Essentia Health logo appears, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, Essentia Health.
(DESCRIPTION)Blurry video of a medical building. The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle, is at the bottom of the screen. Text, What will Vision Northland mean for our patients? David C Herman, MD. Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH)DAVID C. HERMAN: When we envision the way this will look, we have to remember that it's not just about the building. It's about the way that we care for our patients-- having an inpatient entrance, one of them; an outpatient entrance, one of them; having an emergency entrance that's easily accessible; having our emergency department right sized for the volumes of the patients that we're privileged to see every day; being able to have an operating room that's able to hold the staff and the equipment easily that's required for 21st-century care and beyond.
(DESCRIPTION)A conceptual drawing of a new medical facility by a body of water
(SPEECH)This will be an amazing transformation of our practice. Every day our patients here on the Duluth campus travel a long distance between appointments, and so do our caregivers. Being able to pull this together in a footprint that's more easily navigable, that's more efficient, more effective all helps to make health care more affordable and a much more pleasant experience for our patients and our staff.
(DESCRIPTION)Shots of a city street surrounded by a medical facility. A large medical facility campus.
(DESCRIPTION)Blurry video of a medical building. The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle, is at the bottom of the screen. Text, Why do we need Vision Northland? David C Herman, MD. Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH)DAVID C. HERMAN: There is so much great work that happens here every day. And I think I've noticed, and just about everybody's noticed, that our facilities, although they were built at the time they were built to be great facilities for health care, health care has evolved. A generation in health care is probably 10 years.
(DESCRIPTION)A large brick building
(SPEECH)And going back, it's been many generations since we built these wonderful facilities. So this has provided us an opportunity to say, what type of space does it need? How do we want to practice? And how do we make it easy for us to deliver the type of care that our patients need?
(DESCRIPTION)A lake shore cityscape
(DESCRIPTION)Blurry video of a medical building. The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle, is at the bottom of the screen. Text, How will Vision Northland impact our community and the surrounding region? David C Herman, MD. Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH)DAVID C. HERMAN: This is a tremendous investment, not just in the future of Essentia Health but in the future of Duluth and the Arrowhead region. Our fondest hope is that this can become a catalyst for others to make that type of an investment, for other people to imagine what Duluth can be, about how we can grow Duluth in the right type of ways to support those of us that are here now, to become inviting to those we'd like to join us, and to continue to move forward. So we're hoping that the excitement that we have is infectious.
(DESCRIPTION)Various aerial shots of a medical facility and surrounding city. A conceptual drawing of a new medical facility by a body of water appears.
(SPEECH) [MUSIC PLAYING]
(DESCRIPTION) A large building complex. The Essentia Health logo appears at the bottom of the screen, consisting of three leaves in a circle. Text, What considerations are going into the design of the new facility? David C Herman, MD. Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH) DAVID C. HERMANl We've learned so much about the environment of care in my career in medicine, and we have found that the institutional approach, although serving in its time very, very well, doesn't work as well for the patients and the families, or the care providers, as providing a more welcoming, more warm and more healing environment. All hospitals used to be green on the inside. All hospitals used to have the same color tiled floor or terrazzo floor. That's not the case anymore. We know that different structures, different designs can really make a difference in the patient's stay within the hospital, and can really make a difference in our care providers' abilities to care for the patients. So we'll be designing all those features in with the best knowledge that we can get from the science, the best experience we can get from those that have done it before. And then, of course, from our patients and our care providers here to help us to design the facility that really meets the needs of us here in the Northland.
(DESCRIPTION) A computer model of the new Essentia medical facility surrounded by city buildings. The building is long with low ground floors and a very high structure rising out of one side.
(DESCRIPTION) Text, Can Vision Northland spark conversations about the Northland's future? Dr. David C. Herman, Essentia Health C. E. O. , speaks to the camera.
(SPEECH) DAVID C. HERMAN, MD: I think anytime you make a commitment to an area, a commitment that means doing things differently, a commitment that means investments, a commitment that means inviting people into the process, it's a wonderful catalyst for the entire community to take, perhaps, a step back and look at itself and say, How do we want to be different in the future? What opportunities do we have as a community that we can leverage? That we can take advantage of while this investment is going forward? So I'm hoping that this can be a platform, that this can be a catalyst, and this can be a convener of the conversations that I think we would benefit from having here in Duluth and in the broader Arrowhead region to say, What do we want to look like in 2025? 2030? 2040? What are the type of investments that we want to make as an organization? And we want to make as a community in order to invite people to our community? To make it their home, their place to grow and thrive well into the future.
(DESCRIPTION)Background image of a building complex. The Essentia Health logo, consisting of three leaves in a circle, is at the bottom of the screen. Text, What thanks or gratitude would you like to express to those who have been involved in this project? David C Herman, MD. Essentia Health CEO.
(SPEECH)DAVID C. HERMAN: Gratitude is a very important thing. And when I start with my gratitude about this project, I literally have to go back over 100 years because the people that had the foresight to start St. Mary's Medical Center, the Duluth Clinic, Miller-Dwan Hospital. The medical community that came together at that time that built itself and gave us the opportunity to stand upon their shoulders-- we have an immeasurable gratitude for. For those people that helped maintain it through the years going forward. And then right now, for all of those that are working, really, two jobs. Making sure that we're taking great care of patients today, and then planning and building for the future. Our community partners being patient with us as we go through this process. Our patients, helping us with the design, providing their input, their attitudes, and, really, their inspiration that keeps us going forward. It's easy to take a look at this and make this one person's idea, but it's really not. It's really a collection of a lot of people's ideas, a lot of people's inspiration that come together that looks like a building. I think it's important to say that this is really about the practice of medicine and the care of patients. That building may be the manifestation that we see, that when we drive by, that's what it looks like. But, really, all that facility is for is to be able to help those of us that have the privilege to care for our patients and our communities and do it as best as we possibly can.