Gigi’s Playhouse finishing reconstruction
The reconstruction era for North Dakota's only down syndrome achievement center is nearing its end
FARGO, N.D. (KVRR) – Gigi’s Playhouse is planning its grand re-opening later this summer one year after a fire destroyed it.
One year after a fire severely damaged the building, the playhouse is adding new services for people with special needs and their families across the F-M area who use the space as a second home.
“We watched from across the street our facility burn down and we lost everything. Not only was it devastating to our team, but for our families as they lost that second home as well as a place for service. The thing for us as a nonprofit is we don’t receive any state or federal funding. All of our programs are run off of our community support and major fundraisers,” Executive Director of Gigi’s Playhouse Heather Lorenzen said.
The board of directors emphasizes individuality for those with intellectual disabilities, wanting to teach more life skills from washing the dishes to writing exercises.
“Every day we get up, we’re getting up to an alarm. The alarm is allowing us to trigger something in our brain to say, ‘Ok it’s time to start moving today or processing and being able to have those opportunities and a place to practice them only makes you develop those skills and be a contributing member of our community and really have that confidence,” Lorenzen said.
The new playhouse includes a tutoring center, a more spacious kitchen and more.
“The best part and what we’re all looking forward to the most is the gym has exponentially grown. We have a full half court gym now wheras before it was just a place to go and you can play basketball, but now we have this amazing huge space for the kids to run around in. It is so important with our kids, their body types, their tone, they need to have a place to practice life skills in and the gym is gonna do that,” Board Member Trisha Stibbe said.
There’s no set date for when it opens but Lorenzen says they plan a grand opening with room for expansion.