St. George Temple making progress two years into renovation
ST. GEORGE, Utah— Contractors continue with various upgrades to help the pioneer-era St. George Temple, dedicated in 1877. It was the first temple to be completed in Utah and the oldest operating temple in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“One of the main things that we’ve done the last year is to finish all the primary upgrades we needed to do to the historic temple,” Eric Jamison, project manager of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.
In addition to upgrades, a new addition on the west side of the temple is underway, along with extensive landscaping and an underground irrigation system.
According to a release from the Church, “the exterior of the north addition is ready for painting and improvements to the grounds are on schedule.”
“This job demands perfection,” said Lorenzo Brieno, framing foreman from Pete King Commercial.
“There are some walls that feel like glass they’re so smooth. They have a special skill, and you can tell that they care about their work,” Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for the Church said.
The Church said all walkways, planters and landscaping are nearing completion and drought tolerant shrubbery and trees are being planted to be well rooted in anticipation of surviving the heat of the summer.
The release stated, “In addition, a sophisticated smart weather irrigation system is being installed that will know the optimum time to water the vegetation.”
“We all want the people to feel peace, even on the ground. The grounds [are] an extension of the temple,” said Chris Reilly, landscape project manager from Stratton and Bratt.
The renovation also includes structural reinforcement of the temple’s stone foundation and an upgrade of electrical and mechanical systems.
“We were able to get in and now work on all the mechanicals, electrical and then get into the finish work,” Jamison said.
“I’m responsible for anything that has water in it. That’s the heating, the air conditioning, all the drain waste and vent domestic water,” Bob Kropf, the plumbing and mechanical foreman from U.S. Mechanical said.
Large efforts have been made to match the original woodwork in the historic temple.
“When patrons walk into the north entrance of the temple, they’ll feel like they’re in the historic temple, and that’s consistent throughout the building,” Kirby said.
“The thing that I’m most proud of is, I think, the teams that have worked together — both contractor, architect, engineers — being able to collaborate and to make something this challenging work,” Jamison said. “It’s just an honor to be able to work on a house of the Lord.”
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