By JOHN HOWE
The new LDS Assembly Hall in downtown Salt Lake City is progressing on schedule.
“The building is going right along schedule,” said Tom Hanson, project manager for the Assembly Hall. Ground was broken on July 24, 1997, which means construction will take almost three years.
Hanson said the most notable feature is the roof will have a garden which will be accessible to the public. There will be four acres of landscaped roof with fountains, waterfalls, meadows, trees, planters and flowers. There will also be a complete irrigation system on the roof.
The primary purpose of the building is to be used for General Conference. Pageants and cultural events, sponsored by the Church, will also be held in the building. The Assembly Hall will seat 21,000 people. There will also be a Little Theatre which will seat 1,000 people. The lighting and sound in the theater will be one of the most complete theatrical systems in the world.
The building will be equipped with broadcast studio capabilities as well as language translation facilities. Wood paneling will be used extensively throughout the building with stone flooring in the entrances.
Because General Conference is currently held in the Tabernacle, seating is limited. Some students believe the new building will allow them to attend conference.
“I think its great. It is going to house a lot more people so they can go to General Conference,” said Brian Christensen, 25, a sophomore from West Jordan, Salt Lake County, majoring in nursing. “There are so many people that want to see living prophets. The church is making it possible for them to do it.”
“I would go to General Conference if there were more seats. So this new building would give me an opportunity to go,” said Amy Riggs, 19, a sophomore from Horseheads, N.Y., majoring in international studies.
The Tabernacle Choir will continue to give concerts in the Tabernacle after the completion of the new assembly hall.
There are no plans to close North Temple street because it is a state highway. However, there are plans to build a mid-block crossing to allow pedestrians to access the assembly building from Temple Square.
There will be a 1,300 space underground parking garage to accommodate area parking.
The Assembly Building will be linked to the church’s tunnel system.
One Salt Lake City resident is aware of the construction project but is unsure how it will affect the city. “It’s a building going up for conference, that’s all I know. Until it’s done, I don’t know what it’ll do for the city,” said Richard Guerrero, 44, a Salt Lake City resident.