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PROVO — “It was unbelievable,” Donnette Perkins said after taking her look at the rising Provo Tabernacle. “I wouldn’t want to be standing under it like those guys are, but it looks like it is pretty solid.”
She was referring to the network of steel supports that have both residents and visitors to Provo marveling at the Pioneer-era structure that will become Provo’s second LDS temple.
The Provo Tabernacle was severely damaged Dec. 17, 2010, when a lighting technician mistakenly set a 300-watt light fixture on a wooden speaker box in the attic, Provo fire investigators concluded. The blaze caused an estimated $15 million in damage.
Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints held a groundbreaking for the new temple on May 12, 2012, crews have reinforced the interior walls of the tabernacle with rebar and concrete. Now the site is being excavated for what will become a basement in the new temple.
There is definitely increased enthusiasm for downtown with this announcement. A lot of interest has been piqued from developers and retail outlets wanting to be associated with the temple.
–Nathan Murray, Provo City Economic Development Office
"What they have done so far looks pretty amazing,” said Provo resident Jeff Nemelka. “I can't wait to see the final product.”
Nemelka works near the temple site and watches the construction's progress every day.
"It seems like all the dirt was there, and they must have gone in there and put the metal stilts in there beforehand and then removed the dirt with the stilts in place,” he said.
The temple is located on University Avenue between Center Street and 100 South, a central location for surrounding businesses.
The progress on the temple is a catalyst for Provo's downtown.
"There is definitely increased enthusiasm for downtown with this announcement. A lot of interest has been piqued from developers and retail outlets wanting to be associated with the temple,” said Nathan Murray with the Provo City Economic Development Office.
The project is expected to be finished sometime in 2015. That’s when the Provo City Center Temple will be formally dedicated.
Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc