The St. George Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints closed Monday for a major renovation and will reopen in 2022.

The closure was originally announced during the April general Conference of the church with detailed plans of the renovation being released on May 22.

According to the church, the temple will undergo extensive structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and finish work.

There will be an open house prior to the rededication where the public will have another chance to see one of the legacy temples of the church.

“This is one of the beautiful, premier temples in the Church,” said Brent Roberts, managing director of the church’s Special Projects Department during a press conference on the closure. “Latter-day Saints have worshiped here for almost 150 years. However, the building has worn out over time, and it is once again time for us to refresh and strengthen this historic structure for future generations to enjoy.”

At the news conference, church representatives shared interior and exterior project renderings and site plans. The entire temple block will be improved with new walkways, landscaping, water features and additional shade trees. A new brides’ exit and plaza will be added to the east side of the annex, and a new baptistry entrance and exit will be added on the temple’s south side.

The upper portion of the existing annex will be demolished and replaced with a design that will complement the historic structure. Additionally, limited seismic upgrades will be made by adding steel to the temple’s original wood trusses. Some excavation around the temple’s foundation will also be required to install new mechanical heating and cooling systems, according to the church.

“This renovation will be carried out with the finest materials and workmanship available,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations at the press conference in May. “The finished product will become a cherished part of the community and further add to the rich history of this magnificent temple in southern Utah.”

The St. George Utah Temple is one of the most historically significant buildings in the church. It was first dedicated on April 6, 1877 after more than six years of construction. Since that time, the temple has undergone other renovations in 1917, 1938, and 1975. In 1999, the baptistery was renovated.

“The St. George Temple represents the devotion, sacrifice and faith of early members of the Church. This temple was built by hand in the desert as an expression of their faith,” said Emily Utt, historic sites curator with the Church History Department in a church statement. “We believe the current plans to preserve, restore and renovate this sacred place will honor those who came before while also improving the temple’s safety and function for patrons.”

The St. George Utah Temple serves Latter-day Saints in southwestern Utah and parts of Nevada and Arizona. During the renovation, patrons are invited to attend other nearby temples in Cedar City, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The project will impact some aspects of the temple block. Some public access will be restricted, and some sidewalks will be closed, according to the church. Additionally, some roads will be temporarily closed for utility construction.

The Visitors’ Center will remain open during the construction. However the traditional Christmas light display will not take place during the construction period.

Daily Herald reporter Genelle Pugmire can be contacted at gpugmire@heraldextra.com, (801) 344-2910, Twitter @gpugmire

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