ST. GEORGE- As renovations to St. George Utah Temple recently passed the two-year mark, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an update on the project on Monday.

At St. George Utah Temple during renovations, St. George, Utah, time not specified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

“One of the major things we did last year was complete all of the major upgrades we needed to make to the historic temple,” Eric Jamison, the church’s project manager, said in a news release.

Renovation work on the pioneer-era temple began with its closure in November 2019. This was followed by an update a year later when local media were asked to see what had been done so far. ‘now.

The project was originally expected to last around 30 months with a completion date of 2022.

Since the start of the temple renovations, notable changes and additions have included the dismantling and reconstruction of the northern entrance to the temple, as well as the dismantling of the western end of the temple which was originally added. in the 1970s. It is being reconstructed to better match the overall architecture of the temple.

In this file photo, a portion of the LDS St. George Temple that was added in the 1970s is demolished by heavy equipment to make way for structural upgrades and renovations, St. George, Utah, January 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News.

Work inside the temple is kept to a high standard, as noted by Pete King Commercial Framing Foreman Lorenzo Brieno.

“This job demands perfection,” he said. “We check the walls three times before the cone arrives and then check again to make sure it’s perfect.”

The walls inside the temple’s northern addition are given what is known in the industry as a “level 5 finish”. This is intended to replicate the softness of the plaster found in the temple’s original 1870s walls.

“Some of the walls look like glass, they’re so smooth,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for the church. “They have a special skill and you can tell they care about their job.

“When patrons enter the northern entrance of the temple, they feel like they are in the historic temple, and this is the case throughout the building.”

Structural reinforcements were also made to the stone foundations of the temple as part of the renovation, and the mechanical and electrical systems were also upgraded.

At St. George Utah Temple during renovations, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

“We were able to come in and now work on all the mechanical, electrical, and then get into the finishing work,” Jamison said.

Landscaping and general improvements to the grounds are on schedule and nearing completion, according to the church’s press release.

Drought-resistant shrubs and trees are used for landscaping. In addition, an intelligent meteorological irrigation system is being installed and will be programmed to detect the optimal moment to water the vegetation.

The east entrance is also redone to include a new plaza. A new exit and a new place for the bride are added on the east side of the west addition, and a new baptistery entrance and exit will be added on the south side of the temple.

“What I’m most proud of, I think, is that the teams that worked together — both contractor, architect, engineers — were able to collaborate and pull off something so difficult,” Jamison said. “It’s just an honor to be able to work on a house of the Lord.”

At St. George Utah Temple during renovations, St. George, Utah, time not specified | Photo courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, St. George News

The St. George Utah Temple is the oldest and oldest temple in the church. Construction began in November 1871, and the building was dedicated on April 6, 1877. Since then, St. George’s Temple has undergone extensive renovations in 1917, 1938, and 1975.

“St. George’s Temple has always retained an important role in the history of this great church,” Ralph Atkin, local public relations officer for the church, previously said.

The temple is also considered significant for the LDS church because of the role it allegedly played regarding church doctrine involving baptism for the dead.

Prior to its closure, St. George Utah Temple served 12,000 youth and 90,000 adult church members and was operated by a combination of more than 3,000 volunteers.

At St. George Utah Temple during renovations, St. George, Utah, March 28, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

After the renovation is complete, St. George Utah Temple will be open to the public for a short time for tours to showcase the renovations. After that, the temple will be rededicated for use by church members.

Latter-day Saints regard temples as the “house of the Lord,” the holiest places on earth. Temples differ from meeting houses or chapels where all are invited to attend Sunday services. In the temple, according to descriptions of Mormon churches, the teachings of Jesus Christ are reaffirmed through marriage, baptism, and other ceremonies that unite families for eternity.

While St. George Utah Temple remains closed during renovations, the temple visitor center remains open.

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