The University of Minnesota is looking for a site for a new educational healthcare center in Duluth

The University of Minnesota is looking for a site for a new educational healthcare center in Duluth

DULUTH – The University of Minnesota is still waiting for the required $ 12 million approval from the Minnesota Legislature to go ahead with its plans to build a new educational healthcare center downtown, but it sent an early Friday team to find a potential site for the facility.

The school will serve as an educational health care center and pharmacy school, where local physicians, researchers, teachers and students can all collaborate to provide the highest level of care.

“We are working to complete the pre-design,” said Myron France, vice president of finance and operations for the university system. “First, you have to decide what goes into the building – all the programming needs. The other thing is to find out where to put it. “

And France said it was an open question, as he and his team of facility experts visited a potential site in the 600 block of East Fourth Street on Friday morning. He did not say how many sites were in operation, but acknowledged that both St. Luke’s and Essencia Health had offered options, including the grounds now occupied by St Mary’s Medical Center, which would be demolished soon after Essencia completes work. $ 900 million transfer hospital.

France did not even estimate the cost of the project, only acknowledging that it would suffice – the university’s request for more than $ 12 million in orders from the state of Minnesota, as well as the school’s own funds for the $ 6 million essential design work expected of it.

M doesn’t think small of U. France said the Med School needed a site as large as the 1.2-acre plot he was visiting this morning.

“We are thrilled that the University wants to invest here and be a part of our Hillside campus,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson.

If lawmakers pursue the project, France remains optimistic that the new UMD Educational Health Center could be operational by 2025 or more, perhaps 2026, given the scale of the project, he said.

“This project is a generational opportunity,” France said. “We have seen the inequalities that exist in our healthcare delivery system and this is an opportunity to address them directly here.”

Larson called the project a potential “transformation.”

France said the proposal for an educational health care center was moving forward as an emergency.

“In fact, when we saw that the state had $ 9 billion in funding, we thought: well, this is the right time to take this leap once in a lifetime and really speed up the project,” he said.

Larson said she began discussing the possibility of increasing medical attendance at the University of Minnesota’s Duluth at the same time the city was approaching the Minnesota Legislature and was seeking state bonding funding to help grow the city’s medical district. In 2019, Duluth received $ 98 million in state funding for public infrastructure to support the expansion of St. Luke’s and Essentia, while the city’s two largest healthcare providers plan to jointly invest more than $ 1 billion.

“At the time, I was looking at what else was possible,” Larson recalled, noting that simply taking advantage of the extra resources could help make Duluth a stronger medical center.

France said the opportunity to partner with Duluth was attractive.

“Part of our land grant drive is to provide services to the entire state. And we see this as an opportunity to fulfill our goal of providing high quality healthcare for all Minnesotans, “he said. “We want people to come to Duluth and seek their health care. They don’t have to go to the Twin Cities or anywhere else.

But in addition to investing in new facilities, Duluth will need more health professionals to meet its growing regional role as a care provider, and the new educational health care center could help provide the pipeline.

“We think people will come to Duluth if we can provide proper infrastructure and support. And we think it’s a really attractive place to practice medicine, to become a nurse or a healthcare professional, “said France.

“For me, it’s very exciting, because this is a basic building block development that we’re talking about. It is not short-lived. It is diverse. It is generational. It’s fulfilling that need, but it’s also very far-sighted, “said Larson. “We are really grateful and our region deserves it.”

Sneha Mali

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