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By: Jennifer Wheeler, Metro Phoenix Media Specialist
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The October/November 2017 issue of The Arizona Beehive featured an article announcing plans for major renovations for the historic Mesa Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Plan details were released May 10, 2018, just days before the temple was scheduled to close for the two-year renovation. The public will be invited to tour the renovated building when it is reopened, which is expected in 2020.
The 75,000-square-foot temple will undergo extensive work, including site improvements, exterior maintenance, interior finishes and building system maintenance for HVAC systems. The temple grounds will also be renovated and enhanced.
As part of the renovation, the Visitors’ Center will be demolished, and a new center will be built across the street on the southwest corner of LeSueur and Main Street. It will be home to various interactive exhibits and events, historical information about the temple, and family history research and teaching facilities.
This is the second renovation for the 91-year-old temple. It was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball following refurbishment. It was originally dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1927. Early newspaper descriptions of the site called it “an oasis in the desert.”
The temple was designed in a neoclassical style by architects Ramm Hansen and Don Carlos Young. Church design teams are preserving and, in some cases, returning to this original design as part of the renovations. Special care will be taken to protect the historic murals throughout the temple, and new murals will be added in some locations to complement the originals.
The temple is one of six in Arizona and has become a center for holiday celebrations in Mesa. What began as an Easter sunrise service on top of a cotton wagon in 1938 is now a major Easter pageant for the community on the temple grounds. For almost 40 years, thousands of visitors have also made a tradition of touring the temple grounds each Christmas to view the hundreds of thousands of decorative lights and displays that focus on the birth of the Savior as well as listen to the community choirs.
Because of this, the temple site will be improved to better accommodate the annual Easter pageant and make the area more accessible and enjoyable with new paths and walkways for guests.
The following images courtesy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:
Mesa Arizona Temple Renovation Facts:
• The 75,000-square-foot Mesa Arizona Temple will close in May 2018 and will reopen in 2020 following needed repairs and upgrades.
• This is the second renovation for the 91-year-old temple in Mesa. It was rededicated in 1975 by President Spencer W. Kimball following refurbishment. It was originally dedicated by President Heber J. Grant in 1927.
• The new renovations will include site improvements, exterior maintenance, interior finishes and building system maintenance for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems.
• The temple was originally designed in a neoclassical style by architects Ramm Hansen and Don Carlos Young. Church design teams are preserving and, in some cases, returning to this original design.
• Improvements throughout the interior of the temple will bring more consistency with the historic character and feel of the original design. Special care is being taken to clean and protect historic murals throughout the temple. Murals are also being added in some locations to complement the originals.
• Improvements will be made where possible to make the temple more accessible to those with disabilities.
• Roofing and drainage systems will be replaced.
• Windows will be replaced to provide better temperature control and be more energy efficient while keeping the look and character of the historic windows.
• The temple grounds will also undergo a major renovation to be more consistent with the character of the landscape design immediately around the temple. Efforts are being made to preserve the shade trees and the garden feel of the grounds, while also introducing additional garden areas.
• The visitors’ center and the water feature to the north of the temple will be replaced with a new reflection pool and side gardens, opening the view toward Main Street. The site will also be improved to better accommodate the Easter pageant and make the area more enjoyable to walk the rest of the year with the inclusion of additional paths and walkways.
• The reflection pool at the temple entrance will be repaired in its current location.
• The new combined FamilySearch Center and Temple Visitor Center will be conveniently located on the southwest corner of LeSueur and Main Street. It will be home to various interactive exhibits and events, historical information about the temple, as well as family history research and teaching facilities. The facility will be free and open to the public.