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University of Minnesota requests $12M for Duluth medical building

The U of M seeks funding for the design of a new health care education facility as part of the state's legislative plan.

University of Minnesota Duluth and Lake Superior
An aerial view of the University of Minnesota Duluth campus and Lake Superior.
Contributed / UMD
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DULUTH — The University of Minnesota is requesting funding to design and build a new academic health care center located in downtown's Medical District.

The University of Minnesota said in a news release that it's collaborating with Essentia Health and St. Luke's to provide a larger health care work force to "address the needs of Duluth, Greater Minnesota and local Indigenous populations."

As a part of the university's 2022 comprehensive legislative request, it is asking for $12 million for the design phase.

“This opportunity is in line with our land-grant mission and our continued commitment to Greater Minnesota and the Duluth region, specifically. We are thankful for the opportunity to discuss how academic medicine, including training and clinical research, can enhance the great care provided to Minnesotans in the region,” said Dr. Jakub Tolar, dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The new building would be built in close proximity to Essentia and St. Luke's. Mayor Emily Larson said during a news conference Thursday morning that its exact location is still being determined, but St. Mary's Medical Center, 407 E. Third St., is a potential location. Essentia Health announced last week that St. Mary's will be demolished once its Vision Northland project is complete.

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"This is proof that we are leaders for health care technology and innovation and proof that people want to be here, and the more opportunity we give them to be here, our population grows, our vision grows bigger, and we can make the best use and purpose of this in the city of Duluth," Larson said.

If the proposal is approved, design could begin this summer. University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel said in the news release that the goal is to have the new building completed as early as fall 2025.

“The University of Minnesota is committed to expanding our capacity to provide world-class care for Minnesotans in Greater Minnesota," Gabel said. “Through this important partnership, we are amplifying the university’s impact and contribution to communities by creating new space for classrooms, specialty labs, student life and beyond.”

This story originally contained an inaccurate timeline for the building's planned construction. It was updated at 4:28 p.m. (Jan. 27) to indicate that design could begin this summer if the proposal is approved. The News Tribune regrets the error.

Abigael Smith graduated from the University of Minnesota Duluth with a double major in journalism and English and a minor in Digital Writing, Literature, and Design.
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Online comments will be taken on the plan through Aug. 31.
As reported by Douglas County Circuit Court.
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