Instead of erecting a nine-story tower — which drew objections from neighbors — the LDS Church will build three six-story structures to expand its flagship Missionary Training Center in Provo.
The Salt Lake City-based faith released renderings of the final plans late Tuesday.
"Crews are expected to start building several new structures just south of the existing campus in the summer of 2015," according to a news release from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "The additional space will be used for classroom learning, personal study and small-group activities."
When completed in 2017, the bigger MTC will have room for 3,500 missionaries, up from the current capacity of 2,800.
Families will notice the difference when they take part in what has become a uniquely Mormon ritual: dropping off their loved ones before they depart on their missions. A new landscaped drive — replacing the current classroom buildings near the MTC entrance — will greet the budding proselytizers.
"The new construction does not include living quarters, but existing rooms in some of the residence halls are being remodeled to increase capacity," the news release states. "The church is no longer utilizing two nearby apartment complexes to handle the influx of missionaries."
LDS officials say the larger MTC, near Brigham Young University, is needed. The number of missionaries — especially among the female force — has skyrocketed since leaders dropped the minimum age for service to 18 for men (down from 19) and to 19 for women (down from 21).
More than 87,000 Mormon missionaries are serving around the world. They are taught at 15 training centers, where they receive religious instruction and language training.
LDS officials previously had proposed a nine-story high-rise to replace three classroom buildings at the Provo MTC, but some residents feared the tower would destroy the character of their neighborhood.
City officials have said the church worked with the community on the revamped expansion. The newly unveiled plans satisfy Provo zoning rules, according to the release, and include improved landscaping, enhanced outdoor space and 300 underground parking stalls.