Here we are, a few weeks removed from learning more details about the long-term renovation of the Salt Lake Temple and a few months removed from the announcement that the St. George Utah Temple would also close for major work, albeit not as extensive or lengthy as its Salt Lake counterpart. Now the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has revealed the plans for the St. George Temple’s renovation, and the results are… big?
First, let’s get the obvious out of the way. Based on images released by the Church, the temple’s annex will be mammoth. In this writer’s opinion, the renderings appear to show an annex that almost detracts from the original building, even if it’s great that the style matches, unlike the current annex. (The upper portion of the current annex will be demolished to make way for the new, architecturally compliant addition.)
As you can see, the existing structure is all low-slung blandness from decades ago. And it is attached to the original edifice. But the new renderings below show the new annex dominating the whole thing.
Is there still an original temple there?!
OK, we know these are just renderings, but you get the idea. The original structure almost appears like an afterthought, but nifty that it will look like one beastly whole.
And check out how large the entire structure will be from the air:
Alright, the rest of the building renovation is largely what you expect at this point: mechanical, plumbing, electrical, etc. However the Church will also add “limited seismic upgrades” to the temple’s original wood trusses.
In addition, the entire temple block will be redeveloped. A new baptistry entrance will be constructed as well as a brides’ exit (curious language – shouldn’t it be a couples’ exit, or is this explicitly for a cold feet scenario?). New trees and pathways will abound!
Renderings of the interior appear to honor the heritage of the original while providing some contemporary flourishes.
“This renovation will be carried out with the finest materials and workmanship available,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations. We’re glad to see that’s the case with this renovation. We take it as a given that temples are built from the finest materials available, except when they aren’t.
The St. George Utah Temple is the oldest functioning pioneer era temple in the Church, having been dedicated in 1877. Naturally, a structure that old has seen its share of renovations. The cupola was replaced in 1883, famously after a lightning had struck the original, shorter cupola. Mormon lore has it that Brigham Young wanted the original cupola taller, but the saints, both eager to use the temple and weary from its lengthy construction, pushed for a shorter topper. And who had the last laugh?! The temple’s first annex was actually added only a year after the new cupola.
The temple will close on November 4, 2019, and is expected to reopen sometime in 2022. Following the renovation, the Church will hold a public open house prior to the dedication.