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What to expect from the four-year reconstruction project of the SLC Temple

SALT LAKE CITY —  Changes are coming to the Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

A lot of changes.

The church provided four new renderings on Wednesday that illustrate what the renovations will look like when work is completed after this major reconstruction project in 2024.

And at a news conference to reveal the renderings, Church officials stressed that, though the Temple will undergo significant changes in the next 4 years, Temple Square will still be accessible to visitors.

Construction projects to expect

The Salt Lake City Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will undergo some major changes, including seismic upgrades that will isolate the base of the building. Roberts says this type of seismic upgrade is one of the most effective means of protecting a building against the force of an earthquake.

One of the most significant visual changes revealed in the renderings on Wednesday include the restoration to pioneer-era colors and decor. These changes will be evident in the rooms, wood trim, and paintings.

“The colors for example and the trim of the world room, today the trim is painted cream, and it was painted in the 1960s,” said Andy Kirby, the director of historic temple renovations for the Church. “Previous to that it was painted to look like mahogany. We will restore the wood graining to that room.”

Road closures

For the next four years, those who travel in downtown Salt Lake City should expect intermittent road closures on North Temple, State Street, West Temple and South Temple, the major roadways that surround the Salt Lake City Temple.

But Brent Roberts, managing director for special projects with the Church, says they will communicate the street restrictions.

“There are going to be temporary or longer-term street closures,” he said. “But we think we have it so that most of those will be classified as temporary closures.”

Temple Square will remain accessible

Closing Temple Square during the renovation was never an option, in part because according to Tanner Kay, manager of Temple Square Guest Experience, five million people visit Temple Square every year.

“We expect that as many visitors will continue to come, and even more so with the attraction of the construction,” Kay told KSL Newsradio.

“And then when it’s complete, we will have an open house and invite the world to enter the Salt Lake Temple.”

As the renovations get underway, the existing Conference Center will become a visitor center. It will provide a place for people to watch the construction going on across the street.


Patience will be key

Officials from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints say there has already been an uptick in the number of visitors coming to the Salt Lake Temple.  The annual display of Christmas lights can account for much of the increase, and Rich Sutton, area director of worldwide temple operations, says they are most welcome.

“This is not a negative thing. We just hope people will be patient, because there will be a longer wait time than they are used to,” Sutton said.