FARGO — Demolition of a fire-damaged skilled nursing facility here will happen later than expected, but plans to rebuild it on the same site are still on schedule, according to its owner.

Elim Care and Rehabilitation Center was to be torn down in December, with groundbreaking on the new facility following a few months later, according to Twin Cities-based Cassia, which provides senior care in five states.

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Andrew Centanni, vice president of building design and development, said after further discussion with the project’s contractor, a decision was made to leave the building up through the winter in order to “keep the ground warm” for construction.

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The site at 3534 S. University Drive has been fenced off and idle since the fire on Jan. 23, 2020, caused by an overheated electrical component in an attic space of a child care center in the building.

All 111 residents and more than 30 children were brought to safety, and later relocated to other long term care facilities or child care locations.

Centanni said the southeast wing and chapel, which were farthest from where the fire started, will be preserved.

An artist rendering of the exterior of Elim Care Center in Fargo following reconstruction. Special to The Forum
An artist rendering of the exterior of Elim Care Center in Fargo following reconstruction. Special to The Forum

The new facility will have about the same square footage as the previous one, but a different footprint and fewer resident beds.

A fundraising campaign is underway to help support the costs of the project.

Demolition should begin in late spring or early summer, Centanni said, with Elim Care Center opening again in mid-to-late spring of 2022.