Provo residents living near the proposed nine-story building, which is part of the planned MTC renovations, say they don’t like the height of the building and asked LDS Church officials to consider different, less-obtrusive options.
In a meeting Thursday night, Richard Heaton, the administrative director for the MTC, explained that the curent buildings are beginning to show their age. Plumbing and heating problems are becoming a big issue, as well as the buildings’ inability to implement modern technology.
“The rooms are too small and do not meet the current needs of our missionaries today,” Heaton said. “Our goals are to meet the current needs of the missionaries training today, accommodate future growth and be cost effective for the church.”
He added that the building has been reviewed and approved by the LDS Church First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
The need for renovation was not the issue for the audience, who gave multiple suggestions hoping for an alternative option besides the 160-foot building, which would be the same height as the Spencer W. Kimball tower on BYU campus.
Paul Evans, Pleasant View neighborhood chairman, pointed out that two five-story buildings would give just as much classroom space as the nine-story building, maybe even more.
“I’m just saying, it may not be optimum for you guys,” he said to Heaton, “but the height is an issue for us.”
According to Heaton, two five-story structures would take too much classroom space away during the time of construction.
“We won’t have anywhere to put the missionaries that will be training during that time,” he said.
Anne Snow, resident of Sagewood Drive, thinks they should expand the MTC to the playing fields across the street from the main entrance. Her main concern is that they will build a parking lot behind the new building, which will open up the dead-end road that she live on to extra traffic.
“I also think the building should be prettier,” Snow said. “I think it should be a land mark. If they need more funds for that, they should ask people to donate a dollar on the tithing slip.”
Other suggestions were made by the audience including building down instead of up.
“These missionaries are in classrooms for 10 hours every day,” Heaton said explaining why this alternative was rejected. “They need sunlight. They need windows.”
Tamra Call of Fir Avenue is highly against the 160-foot building which will disturb views of the Provo Temple, Rock Canyon, the valley and Utah Lake.
“I’m sorely disappointed that we haven’t had more people stand up and say this is outrageous,” she said, addressing the crowd. “I don’t care who says it’s a wonderful idea, there are other options.”
Carl Bacon, who lives on 2280 North, feels his neighbors have a responsibility to sustain their Church leaders which includes supporting the new building.
“I firmly feel that those people that I sustain have put in a lot of time to make this happen,” he said. “I understand your feelings and you are entitled to that, but I would hope that there would be more people — and I see some of you nodding — but I would hate to face the Twelve and the First Presidency.”
Call feels this is not an matter of religion and believes that allowing one nine-story building will lead to more tall buildings being proposed in the area.
“They have made it a religious issue, and that we’re not sustaining the prophet if we don’t sign on to this,” she said after the meeting. “For people to make this a religious issue — well that’s just off the charts.”
For more information on the proposed building that the MTC renovations, visit mtc.byu.edu/neigbors.html.