The four-year renovation project of the Salt Lake Temple now will take at least five years The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced Monday.
Work on the iconic temple, which got underway in January 2020, and surrounding Temple Square will be completed in 2025.
“As the project has progressed, we have learned a great deal about the condition of the temple and its surroundings,” a news release states. “...Inspired modifications and additions to the project and scope have been made so the temple and Temple Square can serve many generations yet to come.”
At the center of the makeover in the heart of downtown Salt Lake City — and one of Utah’s most visited tourist attractions — is an effort to dig deep beneath the six-spired granite temple and bolster its foundation as part of a seismic retrofit.
In March 2020, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake rocked the temple, knocking the trumpet from the hand of the Angel Moroni statue at its peak and dislodging some spire stones. The golden sculpture was removed in May 2020. It will repaired and returned along with the mended stones.
The sweeping temple project also included demolition of the South Visitors’ Center, which was one of the first things to go when the square’s renovation began in January 2020, and the North Visitors’ Center, which crews began tearing down in November. That razing, the release added, is expected to wrap up next month.
The Christus statue was carefully removed from the North Visitors’ Center this summer for preservation. It will be reinstalled on the square at the end of the renovation.
Church leaders have declined to put a price tag on the overhaul. But, by any measure, it amounts to a major investment to attractions that draw millions of visitors a year.
Since the project started, the church has turned the neighboring Conference Center into the main venue for guests. That building houses a smaller Christus replica, a cutaway model of the temple, multimedia exhibits on the square’s history and significance, and views of the square and the renovation.
When work on the temple concludes, the Salt Lake City-based faith plans to stage an open house, allowing outsiders to view the interior for the first time since the building’s original dedication in 1893. The temple then will be rededicated and thereafter admit only faithful Latter-day Saints.
All four of Utah’s pioneer-era Latter-day Saint temples are due for renovations.
The St. George Temple, Utah’s first, closed in November 2019 to undergo a three-year makeover. Renovations on the Manti Temple began this year, while details on the Logan Temple’s upgrade have yet to be announced.
Latter-day Saints consider temples “Houses of the Lord,” places where devout members participate in their faith’s highest rites including eternal marriages.