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By: Cecily Markland.
Project managers and supervisors say, even during construction, there is a unique feeling of camaraderie and inspiration on the site of the Gilbert Arizona Temple. Photo courtesy Gilbert Temple construction team.
Bret Woods, of the Gilbert San Tan Stake, has worked in construction for years, but his current project is different from anything he’s done in the past.
For the last two years, Brother Woods has been employed by the Special Projects Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is currently the project manager for the Gilbert Arizona Temple.
“I’ve been in construction basically my entire life,” he says. “But this has been pretty amazing, and I’ve asked myself numerous times why I have this privilege.”
He says working on the Temple has been “very different. There is a different feeling, a different spirit than most projects. The atmosphere is different on the site. There is a spirit of teamwork and cooperation, of everyone working together for the same reason and purpose.”
Two others in supervisory positions-Todd Smith, project manager, and Buddy Haws, supervisor-both with general contractor, Okland Construction, are among the many who are working on a temple project for the first time.
Brother Smith, a member of the Redfield Ward, Boulder Creek Stake, says working on the Gilbert Temple has heightened his understanding.
“It’s helped me gain better appreciation of temples and all the effort that goes forth. There’s a lot of planning, a lot of designing, things that you wouldn’t necessarily pick up on just attending the temple,” Brother Smith says.
Because of the high standard expected, Brother Smith spends a great deal of time in quality control. He says his job also requires “more hands on, more involvement with the contractors and with material orders.”
Brother Woods adds, even with the unique cooperation and camaraderie of highly skilled workers, the project itself can be challenging.
“It’s always challenging, but more so on a temple project. There is so much detail, so much coordination that goes on,” he says.
Brother Smith agrees.
“It’s challenging, more so than other projects, because of the level of finishes required,” he says.
That level of quality is a priority in the scheduling and planning.
“We certainly have a timeline, like any project, but it’s more important for it to be right,” Brother Woods says.
Buddy Haws, of the Higley Stake, is responsible for coordinating all of the interior construction.
“I’ve done a lot of unique projects, but nothing like this. It’s a little overwhelming,” he says.
Brother Haws has always prided himself in producing a topnotch product, but, in this instance, he feels an even greater responsibility.
“You always want to build a good product, but it’s different trying to get the perfection that the owner demands, when, in this case the owner is the Church, and, also, knowing it’s the Lord’s house and knowing how detailed everything is and how perfect we want it to be for Him.”
Brother Woods says temples and temple work have been important to him for some time.
“I had quite a testimony before, as I served as a temple ordinance worker for eight years.”
Yet, the hands on work he has done on the construction of the Gilbert Temple has increased those feelings.
“You can see that hand of the Lord in a lot of things that happen. The Lord guides us and directs us and you can definitely see His hand,” Brother Woods says.
Brother Smith adds, “The Spirit does reside there, even during construction of the temple. Working there has strengthened my testimony-given me a little more personal feel for it and helped my kids, so they are able to feel part of it, too.”