St. Luke's begins construction on $58 million Building A expansion
Demolition and reconstruction of St. Luke's Northland Parking Ramp on E. First Street will begin June 1. The parking ramp will be built with a $14 million grant from the state.
DULUTH — Construction has started on St. Luke's three-story addition to its Building A.
The expansion, which will add 82,000 square feet of cardiac and intensive care inpatient rooms, is expected to be complete by the end of next year.
The $58 million construction will be added on top of Building A. In addition, the health care system will transition all of its hospital rooms into private rooms with updated technology and finishes, and will demolish the Northland Parking Ramp on East First Street, then rebuild it.
St. Luke's celebrated the beginning of the new projects with a tree-planting ceremony in front of Building A on Thursday afternoon.
Nick Van Deelen, St. Luke's co-president, CEO and chief medical officer, said the projects are the second phase in St. Luke's Health Forward Initiative, which began with the original construction of Building A.
"At St. Luke's, we recognize the importance of making smart investments in all the things that make great health care possible," Van Deelen said. "First, our people, then the latest in technology, and finally, our infrastructure. ... We build what our patients and staff need at the time, and no more."
The total investment of the three projects in Phase II is $72 million. Mike Boeslager, St. Luke's vice president of support services, said the projects are on budget and on schedule from their original plan, which was announced to the public last May.
Dr. Scott Mikesell, interventional cardiologist and cardiac catheterization laboratory medical director, said the expansion is an amazing step for cardiac patients. The addition to Building A will consolidate St. Luke's cardiac care into one building, with the ambulance deck, air care deck, emergency department, cath lab, cardiac floor and cardiac rehabilitation all together.
"Efficiency and quality and access to care is paramount," Mikesell said.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson noted the importance of having private patient hospital rooms during the ceremony Thursday.
"I know, as many of you do, that health care is deeply personal," Larson said. "For people to be able to have individual rooms as they are in recovery, as they are talking about their worries and their concerns, as they are being given important, lifesaving medical care, to have the comfort and to know that your nervous system can kind of quiet down and be calm because you have privacy, because you have security, because you have people around you who are taking good care of you and being thoughtful about a holistic approach to your health care, so I thank you for that."
St. Luke's Critical Care Manager Brittney Kurhajetz said the new, larger ICU will allow them to care for more critically ill patients and can incorporate the newest technology. The ICU will expand from 24 beds to 28.
The new $14 million parking ramp will be state-funded and city-owned. It will have 323 spaces and is expected to be complete in spring 2024. It is funded by a grant St. Luke's received from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development for infrastructure in 2019.
During the construction of the new ramp, there will be an employee shuttle to make up for fewer on-campus parking spaces.
Daniel Fanning, Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce vice president of policy and strategy, said the investment at St. Luke's is just one of many examples that makes Duluth an example of a successful business community throughout the state and the region.