The two-year renovation of the Mesa Arizona Temple and the surrounding area is under way, beginning with a major demolition effort that includes the removal of the Visitors Center, before the construction begins.
Geoff Lewis, project engineer with Porter Brothers, Inc., the Gilbert-based general contractors overseeing the work on the temple, said most projects they work on don’t require such an extensive, more than six-week long take down and removal at the outset.
“But you don’t often do a 100-year-old temple renovation,” Lewis said.
He said Porter Brothers, Inc., and Breinholt Contracting Co. Inc, who were hired to do the demolition of the Visitors’ Center, have worked closely with Church personnel, including coordinating with Reuel Reeder, the site project manager.
According to Roc Arnett, Metro Phoenix Public Affairs Director, the renovations to the 91-year-old temple will include site improvements, exterior maintenance, restoration of interior finishes and upgrades for the heating, air conditioning and electrical systems.
“The new designs will be more in keeping with the original design elements,” Arnett said.
The cleaning and protection of murals throughout the temple and the complementary addition of some new murals is indicative of the care being taken to ensure improvements in the temple will improve the consistency of design and historic features.
The razing of the Visitors Center and the removal of the water feature north of the temple, followed by the addition of a new, much longer reflection pool and landscaping, will open and enhance the view of the temple from Main Street, Arnett said.
He added that changes will also include a new brides’ room, which will be located where the laundry was in the temple, with a brides’ entrance to a beautifully landscaped patio and garden to the east.
The project will also include a new Family Discovery Center on the corner of Main Street and LeSueur that will house interactive exhibits as well as family research facilities.
In conjunction with the temple renovation, City Creek Reserve is also revitalizing four and a half acres along Mesa Drive and LeSueur with apartments, parking, town homes and a landscaped open area.
Vickie and Jim Hatch, members of the Udall Ward, have lived across the street, west of the Visitors Center, for 20 years.
“We’re going to miss the Visitors Center, but we now have a beautiful view of the temple,” Vickie said. She added that with the growth of the trees and shrubbery, their view of the temple had been obscured. “It’s so exciting for us that we can see it now,” she said. “It’s really going to be something special.”
For more details, visit the Metro – Phoenix Mormons & Friends Facebook page, or see construction updates on the Porter Brothers, Inc. Facebook page.