If you have a copy of the early rendition of the temple, scrap it. If you have copied the 3-D video from YouTube to your Facebook friends, delete it. Residents anticipating the next tidbit on what is happening at the construction site for the new Provo City Center Temple can stop holding their breath -- Provo's community development office has received official bid plans for the temple and surrounding grounds from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
What is evident from a first glance into the 800 pages of descriptions, elevations, floor plans and landscaping is that the LDS Church is going to great lengths to preserve the historical nature of the old Provo Tabernacle. Thanks to modern technology, including the use of lasers, computerized censors, rebar and other devices, construction crews can bring the building up to seismic code and still keep its historical nature. City planner Josh Yost said that while no one will see some of the timbers and material being used, "it is a testament to the length the church is going for historical preservation."
It also is obvious the church is making a large financial commitment to the temple project.
"The church is into preservation, thank goodness," Provo commercial plans examiner Skip Tandy said.
David Hall, director of temple design services in the LDS Church's special projects department said, "Every effort has been made to carefully document the existing elements of the Provo Tabernacle that survived the fire of December 2010, including careful study of historical photographs.
With the building being repurposed as a temple, it is not possible to restore the building interior in its entirety. Rather significant efforts have been made to cast the new temple's interior design consistent with the architectural styles used in the original tabernacle. Many interior features survived the fire including wood moldings, Newel posts and balustrades which allow for reproduction of the beautiful woodwork found in the pioneer tabernacle. Upon entering the new temple, it's familiarity to the historic tabernacle will be evident," Hall said.
According to the plans, the temple will be approximately 85,084 square feet with four floors -- two below ground and two above. The main, ground-level entrance will be on the south side of the building; there also will be an entrance from the underground parking area. From ground level to the top of the middle spire is 127 feet. The statue of the Angel Moroni will be added to that.
There will be underground parking for 245 vehicles and an additional surface parking lot for 50 vehicles at the south end of the grounds. Both lots will be accessible from 200 South and 100 West.
"More than any other temple this has more extensive grounds and less surface parking," Yost said. "It's a smaller version of Temple Square in Salt Lake City."
When it comes to landscaping, both temple patrons and the community will get more than the lush flower gardens, trees and grass that will be planted. A 17-foot bronze four-tiered Victorian fountain with ornamental nozzles will grace the grounds at about 100 South. The finial at the top is replicated from a stair newel post from the tabernacle's interior banister that lead to the pulpit and stand. Scalloped shingles matching the original 1800s design will be used on the roof. The top of the fence posts will feature beehives.
"The entire temple grounds will be beautifully landscaped and will be open to the public following the temple's operations schedule, consistent with all LDS temples. The grounds closest to the temple will have a taller fence and gates, whereas the grounds both north and south of the temple fence will have lower perimeter fencing and are not gated," Hall added.
Public gardens with benches, shrubs, trees and grass will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week on the north end of the property, similar to the old tabernacle park. There also will be gardens on the west side of the temple where the current Nu Skin parking terrace is located.
According to Tandy there also will be a 5,290-square-foot, two-story pavilion about midway between 100 and 200 South, which will serve as a waiting area for non-temple patrons and a place for wedding parties to take pictures. It will connect to the underground parking via elevator.
Plans show a roundabout at the intersection of 100 West and 100 South to make post office access easier for patrons.
"This is an urban temple," community development director Gary McGinn said. "They are going to landscape the heck out of it."
City spokesman Corey Norman noted, "As people come downtown they'll be able to participate in a unique experience. Pioneer Park and its fountains will be operating, Nu Skin will have its community-oriented open space and incredible building complete, the church will be done with the temple, and we have over 50 individually owned restaurants for visitors and residents to choose from."
Views of the construction site show the temple shell being propped up by stilts while crews dig down approximately 40 feet for the two lower floors. According to Tandy even the dirt under the old tabernacle was perfect for construction crews to work with.
"The soil underneath the temple is as good as they could ask for, and it's stable," Tandy said. The displaced dirt will be transported to the city cemetery to help with the city's expansion project.
The interior floors will feature the typical rooms found in all LDS temples, including the baptistry, dressing rooms, lockers, offices and a bride's dressing room on the lower levels. The above-ground levels will include a chapel, instruction rooms, offices, lobbies and five rooms where marriages are performed.
While not included in the line drawings, interior decorations will continue with the Victorian theme.
When the temple was announced, church officials estimated that it would be open for use in early 2015, but according to Hall it depends on a number of factors.
"Excellent progress is being made on the construction, but given the complexity of working with an historic structure, it is still too early in the process to provide a meaningful date," Hall said.
Tandy added they expect it to be a busy wedding temple with all of the photo areas that will be provided.
Mayor John Curtis said, "The City Center Temple in downtown Provo is a great example of what two committed organizations can accomplish in a public-private partnership. This has been the model on how to bring everyone to the table for a unified outcome. We're all dedicated to having the best temple/downtown experience."