How Salt Lake Temple Closure in December Will Affect Area

Contributed By Herb Scribner, Deseret News

  • 21 November 2019

Temple Square and downtown Salt Lake City on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in April of this year that the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square would receive extensive renovations.

President Russell M. Nelson announced that the Salt Lake Temple will close on December 29 and will remain closed for four years.

“We promise that you will love the results,” said President Nelson about the plans for the Salt Lake Temple renovations. “They will emphasize and highlight the life, ministry, and mission of Jesus Christ in His desire to bless every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.”

What Will Happen?

When the Church announced the renovations, it explained a number of changes and upgrades that would be made:

  • The temple upgrades will help the structure withstand an earthquake. 
  • There will also be a new tunnel added underneath North Temple Street. The tunnel gives access to the temple from the Conference Center parking area.
  • The South Visitors’ Center will be removed from Temple Square and replaced. 
  • The plaza in between the temple and State Street and the Church Office Building, Church Administration Building, and Joseph Smith Memorial Building will undergo renovation and improvements.
  • There will be new entrances added to Temple Square. A virtual walk-through from the Church showcases these new entrances.

Rendering view of the east block of Temple Square

A rendering of the Salt Lake Temple’s base isolation system.

When Will the Temple Open Again?

The Salt Lake Temple is expected to open again in 2024, and the Church will host a public open house once the renovations are finished.

The Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019. Officials with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced renovation plans and changes to it and the grounds. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

“This will be an incredible opportunity,” said Bishop Dean M. Davies, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, in a Church News article. “For generations, only faithful members have been able to enter the Salt Lake Temple. Now everyone—people of our faith, other faiths, or no faith—will be able to come to the temple.”

“We want everyone to know they are welcome,” Bishop Davies continued. “We want them to come and see and feel why this temple is so beautiful to us. We want it to be their temple too. The temple is part of the community.”

Rendering view inside the north gate of Temple Square showing the top of the skylight over the recommend desk entry.

What about Traffic?

At the time of the Salt Lake Temple announcement, Utah governor Gary Herbert noted that there would be potential traffic problems due to the construction in the area, according to the Deseret News.

“So I’m hopeful that tourism doesn’t wane at all,” the governor told reporters at the time.

“It will maybe increase, in fact, as people come here and see our beautiful capital city and our wonderful state and—most importantly—our wonderful people that reside here,” he said.

Construction?

Brent Roberts, director of special projects for the Church, told the Deseret News that they are considering this a “major construction project” and that Church officials will work within guidelines of city noise and ordinances throughout the process.

Is Anything Open?

The following locations will remain open at Temple Square:

Flowers adorn the grounds surrounding the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019, when leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced renovation plans for the Salt Lake Temple and changes to the temple grounds and Temple Square. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

A person looks over the grounds of the Salt Lake Temple in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019, when leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced renovations to the Salt Lake Temple and changes to the temple grounds and Temple Square. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019, about renovation plans for the Salt Lake Temple and Temple Square. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

President Russell M. Nelson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints speaks during a press conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, April 19, 2019, about renovations to the Salt Lake Temple and grounds. Photo by Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News.

Rendering of the view inside the north gate of Temple Square, showing the top of the skylight over the recommend desk entry.