Detailed plans for the upcoming closure and renovation of the St. George Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were released Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at a news conference in the St. George Temple Visitors’ Center. The temple is in the city of St. George in southern Utah.
The temple, which will close November 4, 2019, will undergo extensive structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and finish work. The renovation is expected to be completed in 2022. Following a public open house, the temple will be rededicated.
“This is one of the beautiful, premier temples in the Church,” said Brent Roberts, managing director of the Church’s Special Projects Department. “Latter-day Saints have worshipped here for almost 150 years. However, the building has worn out over time, and it is once again time for us to refresh and strengthen this historic structure for future generations to enjoy.”
At the news conference, Church representatives shared interior and exterior project renderings and site plans. The entire temple block will be improved with new walkways, landscaping, water features and additional shade trees. A new brides’ exit and plaza will be added to the east side of the annex, and a new baptistry entrance and exit will be added on the temple’s south side.
Baptistry Exit Plaza
The upper portion of the existing annex will be demolished and replaced with a design that will complement the historic structure. Additionally, limited seismic upgrades will be made by adding steel to the temple’s original wood trusses. Some excavation around the temple’s foundation will also be required to install new mechanical heating and cooling systems.
“This renovation will be carried out with the finest materials and workmanship available,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations. “The finished product will become a cherished part of the community and further add to the rich history of this magnificent temple in southern Utah.”
The St. George Utah Temple is one of the most historically significant buildings in the Church. Construction began in November 1871, and the temple was dedicated April 6, 1877. Since its dedication, the temple has undergone several significant renovations. The cupola was replaced in 1883 after a lightning strike, and the first annex was added that same year. Additional renovations were completed in 1917, 1938, and 1975. In 1999, the baptistry was renovated. (More information about the history of the temple is available here.)
“The St. George Temple represents the devotion, sacrifice and faith of early members of the Church. This temple was built by hand in the desert as an expression of their faith,” said Emily Utt, historic sites curator with the Church History Department. “We believe the current plans to preserve, restore and renovate this sacred place will honor those who came before while also improving the temple’s safety and function for patrons.”
The St. George Utah Temple serves Latter-day Saints in southwestern Utah and parts of Nevada and Arizona. During the renovation, patrons are invited to attend other nearby temples in Cedar City, Utah, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
“These temples are working to prepare to serve additional patrons during the closure and renovation of the St. George Utah Temple,” said Michael Suhaka, managing director of the Church’s Temple Department. “We will do all we can to accommodate and welcome those who desire to worship in the house of the Lord. We look forward to the completion of the renovation of this historic temple and the anticipated public open house and temple dedication events that will follow.”
The project will impact some aspects of the temple block. Some public access will be restricted, and some sidewalks will be closed. Additionally, some roads will be temporarily closed for utility construction. The Temple Visitors’ Center will remain open during construction, but there will be no access to the temple site during that time. The annual Christmas light display will not take place during construction.
“Many years of planning have preceded this next major renovation for the St. George Utah Temple,” said Chris Robbins, senior project manager. “We have taken great care to consider the patrons, the building’s functionality and the hallowed site it resides on. We have been guided by the historic significance of this great pioneer-era temple and the celebrated place it holds in the state of Utah.”