Essentia Health to open new clinic at The Lights in West Fargo

The one-story clinic, comprising some 14,500 square feet of space and slated to open in late fall, will be located in the high-visibility development called The Lights.

Essentia Health at the Lights.png
This rendering depicts the lobby and reception area of Essentia Health’s future clinic at The Lights in West Fargo, N.D. The clinic is slated to open in late fall.
Image: EAPC Architects Engineers

WEST FARGO, N.D. • Essentia Health is bringing a new clinic to the West Fargo community.

The one-story clinic, comprising some 14,500 square feet of space and slated to open in late fall, will be located in the high-visibility development called The Lights, by EPIC Companies.

Representatives from Essentia Health said they are excited about the new clinic and its location, noting it will offer a number of services to the residents of a growing community.

Essentia already sponsors the development’s entertainment plaza, said Suzanne Zeltinger, senior director of operations at Essentia, and it has wanted to do more at the development.

“I think Essentia Health has been interested in opening a clinic since The Lights project began,” she said. “I think that our interest grew when we gained the naming rights of the plaza. And from there, we really wanted to have a bigger connection with the area and the community.”


Kerry Carlson, senior director of operations at Essentia Health, said joining The Lights has been part of its strategic plan to make health care more accessible to residents.

“It's more than just the opportunity to be in that facility,” he said. “It's always been our desire to continue to build our collaborative relationships with the West Fargo community at large. … The community members of West Fargo are extremely important to us, as are all of our patients, and we want to make sure that we are bringing health care closest to their homes. That is our role. That's our job as we move forward in all of our communities – we want to be present.”

Carlson said the company has for a long time been developing clinics near schools and neighborhoods to provide better access for nearby residents.

“I don’t think it's setting a trend,” he said. “I think we’ve already set the trend. We've been building clinics throughout the entire region … in our communities and neighborhoods over the past five years. This is just another extension of that same strategy.”

The Lights is a mixed-use development that, when fully functional, will have more than 20 businesses and nearly 300 residential units. Current buildings at The Lights include EPIC and ECHO, but at least two more are currently under construction or in development.

The Lights will open a third phase, for instance, called ENVY at The Lights, in early 2023, according to McKenzy Braaten, vice president of communications at EPIC Companies.

“This building will have commercial space, apartments, and condos in it,” she said. “It's a chance for people to purchase a home instead of lease a home in this location while enjoying upgraded amenities. It's also a front-row seat to anything happening outside in the plaza space or take a quieter view and face the west side.”

The city-owned transformable plaza – the Essentia Health Plaza – hosts concerts and other types of entertainment, dining and shopping.


EPIC also is slated to add a fourth building, called the EDGE at The Lights, which Braaten said will be either a build-to-suit or mixed-use building, depending on the commercial tenants or need of housing. And expanding its reach, The Lights will soon have sister properties in Grand Forks with The Beacon and in Minot with The Tracks developments.

“We are always thinking of new ways to enhance our communities through innovative development,” she said.

Blake Nybakken, COO of EPIC Companies, said The Lights is a great place for Essentia to open a clinic because it is in a prominent location.

“There is a lot of activity here, a vibrant space with great exposure,” he said. “They’ll be a great fit and will provide an important service for a quickly growing part of the West Fargo community. They currently have a great relationship with West Fargo Events and we look forward to starting our relationship with them as a major tenant at The Lights.”

Andrew Weeks is an award-winning journalist who has reported for a number of newspapers and magazines. He currently is the editor of Prairie Business, the premier business magazine of the northern plains. The magazine covers various industries and business topics in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
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