While the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral cools down, another religious organization is turning the attention on itself as it announces a major renovation plan for its most iconic building. The LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah has been a longtime symbol of the LDS Church since its early days in pioneer Utah. Now, the building aims to close its doors by the end of the year. It will be reopened by 2024 after major renovations, according to the LDS church in a statement that was released on Friday.
The decision to renovate the iconic temple came after concerns about the building’s structure were brought to question. The church aims to update the infrastructure of the building in order to make it more structurally sound. “This project will enhance, refresh, and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds,” said the President of the LDS Church, Russell M. Nelson, in a statement. “Obsolete systems within the building will be replaced. Safety and seismic concerns will be addressed. Accessibility will be enhanced so that members with limited mobility can be better accommodated,” he added. The LDS church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, where the temple sits.
As it stands, not just anyone can walk into the temple for a visit. Tourists are encouraged to explore the temple’s massive downtown grounds. Hoewever, only LDS church members with a recommendation from their local bishop are allowed within the building. The church holds a major seat of power for the local community. And the temple brings around 3 to 5 million tourists to Salt Lake City each year. It’s the Mormon Church’s equivalent of Notre Dame, and it’s getting a face lift. However, the church promises that it will maintain the original architecture of the historic building.
The church released a series of rendered images to show what the renovations will look like when they’re completed in 2024. The building was originally constructed in 1853 and took nearly 40 years to complete. So it’s long overdue for some updated reinforcement. Salt Lake City sits on a fault line, so its risk of earthquake is much higher than that of other major U.S. cities. A new temple will see changes and expansions to the temple grounds, the removal of a massive wall surrounding the property to make it more welcoming, and structural changes to the building itself.
Utah is in the lead to acquire the 2030 Winter Olympic bid. The state is undergoing major changes to its urban infrastructure in order to secure the games. A new Salt Lake City airport will also finish construction in 2020. This will see expansions to flight services that will make it a major international hub city. The project took an estimated ten years to complete and it promises to bring millions of dollars into the state. The 2002 Winter Olympics saw major changes to the city with the addition of public transport expansions, updated freeway systems, and the addition of major sports facilities around Salt Lake City and its surrounding towns.
Maybe the updates to the church are an added initiative to secure the Olympic bid.