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'Extreme Makeover' home to be built in Fargo-Moorhead

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There's no place like home - if you want to build an extreme home.

Heritage Homes of Fargo will be the key builder for a new home to be built in the Fargo-Moorhead area for the ABC-TV reality show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

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Construction is to start during the week of Oct. 4, Heritage Homes co-owner Tyrone Leslie said Tuesday. It will be the third extreme homebuilding stint for the firm.

"We're very blessed. We fought very hard to get it," Leslie said. "The odds of doing it once are next to nil. Doing it twice is pretty much impossible. Three times? Very few builders can actually say they've done that. It is an honor to get it finally to the Fargo-Moorhead area."

Leading up to the build will be a community pep rally.

"Coming Together: A Fargo-Moorhead Community Build" will start at 6 p.m. Monday in the Bison Sports Arena at North Dakota State University. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Where the home will be built, and the name of the family receiving it, are closely guarded secrets by "Extreme Makeover," Leslie said.

Megan Messer, who handles media relations for Heritage Homes, said "Extreme Makeover" wants to capture a genuine "surprise moment" when the family is told they will get a new home.

If any information is released early, she said "Extreme Makeover" will pull the show and go elsewhere.

"We don't even engage in that ... for the fear of it getting out," Leslie said. "They have multiple families they're talking to. We'd never want the show to say, 'Oh, we're leaving.'

"All we know is that whatever family it is, it's a very deserving family. It's going to be a life-changing event," he said. "And not just for the one family, it's for all of the volunteers that will be engaged in this. It will be something that people will talk about when they're 70, 80 or 90 years old to their grandkids. What better thing to be involved in than something that's good, giving back, and making changes in the right way."

Leslie estimates that 3,000 to 4,000 volunteers will be needed to build the home in the one-week time frame set by the show.

The rally is open to anyone in the community. Beyond information on how to give time, money or materials to the project, it will include the show's producers, and some of the celebrity cast members, including perhaps Ty Pennington, Paul DiMeo, Paige Hemmis, Michael Moloney, Ed Sanders, Tracy Hutson, Eduardo Xol, John Littlefield, Leigh Anne Tuohy, Xzibit or Jillian Harris.

Leslie, and his Heritage Homes partner, Daryl Braham, have been part of two other shows.

Heritage Homes helped build a home in Minot, N.D., in 2006 for the Bill and Michelle Bliven family.

In 2008, the firm was one of eight builders that converged on hurricane-stricken New Orleans to build a home and a church.

At extrememakeoverfm .com, the logos of 37 project sponsors are featured and dozens of other project sponsors and partners are named.

There are also lists of design and construction materials still needed, and links for donating cash online and by mail.

A spokeswoman for ABC said the show is still on hiatus and more information should be available next week.

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