SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 19, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — Latter-day Saint Church president President Russell M. Nelson announced Friday that the pioneer-era Salt Lake Temple will close its doors in December for a multi-year renovation.
The temple will close on Dec. 29 of this year, “and will remain closed for approximately four years while undergoing a major structural and seismic renovation,” said a statement released by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “The temple is expected to reopen in 2024 with a public open house.”
Nelson is quoted in the Church statement:
“This project will enhance, refresh, and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds,” he said. “Obsolete systems within the building will be replaced. Safety and seismic concerns will be addressed. Accessibility will be enhanced so that members with limited mobility can be better accommodated.”
The surrounding area on Temple Square and the plaza near the Church Office Building will also be affected, the statement says.
“The existing annex and temple addition on the north side, which were built in the 1960s to add needed support facilities and more sealing (marriage) rooms, will be demolished and rebuilt,” the statement says.
The renovation of the temple will involve replacing the historic building’s aging mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, as well as a significant seismic upgrade to help the building withstand a large-magnitude earthquake, it said.
“This upgrade will include a base isolation system, which is one of the most effective means of protecting a structure against earthquake forces,” said Brent Roberts, managing director of the Church’s Special Projects Department.
“This unique system will preserve the historic footing of the temple. Once complete, it will help protect people, the historic building, and the beautiful interior finishes in the event of an earthquake.”
The installation of the base isolation system will require deep excavations around the historic footings and foundation of the temple and will also require the strengthening of the stone spires and walls, the statement says.
The existing South Visitors’ Center will be demolished and replaced with two new guest and visitor pavilions.
Following the renovation, temple patrons and guests will enter the temple through the new entry pavilions to the north and proceed down to a grand hall,” the statement says. The formal temple entry point will sit underneath large skylights that will provide natural light and views of the temple above. Patrons will then proceed down the grand hall to the historic temple.
For temple patrons who enter from the Conference Center parking area, a new guest access tunnel will be built under North Temple Street that will allow for direct underground entry to the grand hall from the parking structure.
The temple, for which construction was begun in 1853, was dedicated in 1893.
Nelson noted planned renovations during LDS General Conference on April 7:
“Efforts will be made to preserve the unique historicity of each temple wherever possible, preserving the inspiring beauty and unique craftsmanship of generations long-since passed.”
The North Visitors’ Center, Tabernacle and Assembly Hall will remain open during construction, and tours by missionaries will continue.
Also open during construction will be the Family History Library, Church History Museum, Church History Library, Conference Center, Joseph Smith Memorial Building, Lion House and Beehive House.
“We promise that you will love the results,” Nelson said in the prepared statement. “They will emphasize and highlight the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ in His desire to bless every nation, kindred, tongue and people.”
See a video produced by the Church below.