LDS Church meetinghouse goes out like The Giving Tree
The 1951 building, unused for years, is giving its all in an unusual harvest — from its fixtures down to its lumber.
Published: March 3, 2014 08:47PM
Updated: March 3, 2014 10:44PM
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Photos from the construction of the former LDS Church building at 375 East 100 South in Salt Lake City. Courtesy photo

With everything from the crown mouldings to the heating system to five tall pine trees removed and donated, a former LDS Church meetinghouse is being demolished this week to make way for a Hope Lodge.

Cancer patients who travel to Salt Lake City for care will be welcomed at the 41-suite lodge free of charge. The American Cancer Society has raised $14.8 million of its $18 million capital goal, and it will also be seeking donations for operating costs.

It’s aiming to open the lodge, being built by R&O Construction, in the summer of 2015.

Both the land and the building on the corner of 100 South and 400 East in downtown Salt Lake City were donated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2011. The meetinghouse was built at 375 East 100 South in 1951, but had been unused for years.

Last summer, volunteers began removing doors and hardware, lighting fixtures, wood paneling and speakers.

They pulled up hardwood floors and sub flooring, recovered the plumbing and even stripped out lumber.

In the end, all the things harvested from the building became the largest material donation Habitat for Humanity has received in Utah.

The materials were used to build homes for needy families or provided to Habitat’s retail store, ReStore, where recycled materials are sold and profits go to families in need.

Five 30-foot pine trees were cut into logs and transported — using donations from Affordable Tree Care and Tramcor Corp. — to the Navajo tribe for use in San Juan County.

It’s “deeply rewarding” to see the project move into its next phase, said Katie Eccles, Hope Lodge Board Chair, in a statement.

“We have implemented an exciting and innovative model where nonprofits work together to magnify donations and help as many people as possible,” she said.

“We have worked to extend what was originally a single donation to Hope Lodge and touched even more people throughout the community.”

The slower deconstruction process also kept several tons of building material out of Utah landfills, the society noted.

Materials from the final demolition, which is part of a donation from A-Core Concrete Cutting Inc., will be sorted for additional reuse and recycling, its statement said.

In 2013, nearly 11,000 Utahns were diagnosed with cancer and approximately 4,500 traveled to Salt Lake to receive care, according to the society. It expects the lodge to serve 800 patients annually.

“The realization of opening the doors of Hope Lodge to cancer patients and their caregivers still requires additional support,” noted Pam Higginson, vice president and Hope Lodge campaign director for the society’s Great West division.

“We are committed to bringing them this remarkable house of healing.” she said in the society’s statement, “to let them concentrate on what’s most important — getting well.”

How to help

To learn how to volunteer with the American Cancer Society or to make a donation to Hope Lodge, visit www.hopelodgeutah.org.