Gigi's Playhouse reflects on anniversary of fire in new building

They gave WDAY News a look inside their new playhouse, located at the site of their old one.

A look at the progress for the new Gigi's Playhouse location.
Morris, Ben

FARGO — Wednesday, May 12, is the one-year anniversary of the massive arson fire that destroyed much of a south Fargo strip mall, including Gigi's Playhouse.

The achievement center for people with Down syndrome has used different sites around the community for the last 12 months, but they are getting closer to being back in their permanent home.

While there's still plenty to do, the new building at the site of their old one has started to take shape, and their executive director said they hope to come back in this new building better than ever.

"Just knowing that this summer, when we do open, we'll be back to full program capacity capacity, as well as more we have more to pull out from individuals with Down syndrome and have them shine within our community," said Heather Lorenzen, Gigi's executive director.

They'll have a larger gym which can fit up to 16 four-person families for fitness classes, and they'll add a new big kitchen, that should provide more space for their life skills training.


There's nothing like getting closer to coming home.

"I think you know, not having that place to go to. And it's been great to be amongst our community for it, really showing the support of our community, but it's nice to come home," said Lorenzen.

She said they wouldn't be here now without the public's support.

They've had to fundraise for months and although there was no official goal, they said they needed millions to get back on their feet.

As for when they'll officially open their doors, they don't have an official date yet, but say it should be sometime this summer.

Ben Morris joined WDAY in June of 2021 as a news reporter. He grew up in southern New Hampshire, before he moved to Fargo. He majored in media communications and minored in marketing at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
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