By Cecily Markland
The first new temples announced by President Thomas S. Monson were to be in Gilbert and in the Gila Valley of Arizona. Less than a month later, on May 24, 2008, President Monson announced another Arizona temple, this one to be built in Phoenix.
The official groundbreaking ceremony at the Phoenix Temple site, at 5220 West Pinnacle Peak Road, was held June 4, 2011.
While no official announcement has been made, construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2014. The 58,000 square-foot temple will have two ordinance rooms and four sealing rooms.
As of March, landscaping had begun, with landscaping boulders being positioned on the grounds and plants and bushes being added. The facing stone was being added to the main water feature and installation of the decorative fencing was underway.
Sportsmans Concrete, based in Mesa, is one of the companies involved in these final aspects of the construction.
“We have done all of the exterior concrete—the sidewalks, curbs and decorative concrete—everything you can see on the outside. And, we’ve poured miscellaneous things on the inside, like the ramps to the celestial room,” says owner Buck Leavitt, a member of Ironwood Crossing 2nd Ward in the Queen Creek North Stake.
Buck, whose company also worked on the Gila Valley Temple, says the work done on the temple is “meticulous. It’s the finest work you’ll find. It’s perfect; that what [the Church] expects and that’s what they get.”
Jeff Miller, foreman with Sportsmans Concrete and a member of the 34th Ward, Mesa East Stake, says, “Great care is taken to putting out the best product.”
He explains that, for the temple project, they do smaller pours and pay closer attention to the detail work. Yet, even with everything they do in terms of quality control, “You can’t help but feel like a little bit of help comes from the Lord.”
He says, for example, “I’ve seen rain skirt around us, just skirt right around freshly poured concrete, almost like the parting of the Red Sea.”
Nonmembers on his crew “do sense that there is a difference when working on the temple,” Brother Miller says. “We have had a few people talk about that. They may joke about it a little bit, but they can tell that there is a difference.”
He adds that, for his nonmember crew, the project has stirred their curiosity about the Church.
“We have had lots of lunch breaks that are filled with questions about temples. They ask about different temples and about what goes on in temples. They ask a lot of questions,” he says.
Brother Miller says the Phoenix Temple is beautifully done.
“With Pinnacle Peak and the mountains behind it, it’s beautiful, like it has its own place there in the mountains.”
A Missionary/Temple Information Room is located in the adjacent meetinghouse. The room can be accessed through the west doors and is open for visitors Monday–Friday, noon to 5:00 p.m.; weekday evenings and weekends, by appointment. To schedule an appointment, call 623-587-5565.