Latter-day Saint officials unveil renovation plans for St. George Temple


ST. GEORGE (ABC4 News) – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints unveiled renovation plans for the St. George Temple in a press conference Wednesday morning, which will include new heating and cooling systems, landscaping, walkways, water features and the reconstruction of most of the temple annex built in the 1970s. 

The St. George Temple is historic and iconic for the community, as the first completed in Utah. The building will close Nov. 4, and the renovation is expected to wrap up in 2022. 
“This is one of the beautiful, premier temples in the church,” Brent Roberts, managing director of the church’s special projects department, said in a news release. “Latter-day Saints have worshipped here for almost 150 years. However, the building has worn out over time, and it is once again time for us to refresh and strengthen this historic structure for future generations to enjoy.
Church members James and Denise McArthur of St. George said the renovation is a small price to pay to keep the temple in great condition, as the building remains one of the most significant places in their lives. 
“We’ve been married 51 years and we were married in the St. George Temple,” Denise McArthur said. “We have seven children, and they were all married in the same room in the St. George Temple as we were.” 
James McArthur said his ancestors settled to St. George and were involved in the building of the first temple, completed in 1877 when Utah was not yet an official state. 
Church representatives said they hope to restore the temple to what it once was, with the intent of what the pioneers had planned. 
“These settlers not only built a town, they built a community,” said Emily Utt, historic sites curator with the Church History Department. “We believe the current plans to preserve, restore and renovate this sacred place will honor those who came before while also improving the temple’s safety and function for patrons.”
Crews will construct a new brides’ exit and plaza to the annex’s east side, and a new baptistery entrance and exit will be added to the temple’s south side. 
The St. George Temple is coming close to 150 years of operation, serving about 90,000 adults and 12,00 youth who live in parts of Utah, Nevada and Arizona. 
The Temple Visitors’ Center will remain open during the renovation, although visitors cannot access the temple site. Church representatives said the annual Christmas light display will be suspended during construction. 
Once the renovation is complete, the temple will be open to visitors during an open house, according to Michael Suhaka, the managing director of the Temple Department. Suhaka said it’s been 150 years since the doors of the temple were open to the public for viewing. 

During the project, Latter-day Saint faithful are invited to attend temples in Cedar City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada, the two closest to St. George. 

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