MTC expansion supported by community

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The LDS Church's plans for the expansion of the MTC. (Courtesy Mormon Newsroom)
The LDS Church’s plans for the expansion of the MTC. (Courtesy Mormon Newsroom)

The LDS Church proposed a new plan for expanding the MTC last week.

Previous plans were scrapped in October 2012 because of concerns from community members, but the new plan was met with community support.

According to a press release by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the plan involves new buildings just south of the existing MTC campus, 300 underground parking stalls and landscaping that will make the area more visually appealing and provide a “neighborhood buffer.” This plan replaces the church’s original plan of a nine-story building that was proposed in 2012.

“The new plan is much, much better,” said R. Paul Evans, the Pleasant View neighborhood chair. The Pleasant View neighborhood is adjacent to the MTC. Residents expressed concern that the original plan would affect their neighborhood in a negative way.

According to Evans, the new plan is better in three important ways: first, the location of the new buildings; second, the inclusion of parking on the MTC’s own property; and third, the community buffer as an effort to soften the boundary of the MTC. Unlike the first plan that caused controversy, the new plan “fits into the neighborhood,” Evans said.

Evans recognized the LDS Church’s need to expand, but he pointed out that the needs of the Pleasant View neighborhood and the City of Provo needed to be taken into account as well. According to Bill Peperone, assistant director of the Provo City Community Development Department, the church has worked hard to come up with a plan that works for all three of these groups.

“A lot of thought and money has been put into this plan,” Peperone said. “Everybody’s happy to see that (the LDS Church) took their thoughts into consideration.”

Although the original plan met all the Provo City requirements, Peperone said it caught the city by surprise. But the new plan is “much more appropriate.”

Peperone went on to say that the church has “hired some very competent professionals” to make the most efficient use of space and resources.

According to information released by the church, the maximum occupancy of missionaries at the Provo MTC after the expansion will be 4,500. Current maximum occupancy at the MTC is 3,000.

Peperone agreed with Evans that the church’s decision to include parking on its own campus is a key improvement.

“I think it’s a huge benefit to the town,” Peperone said. “It will be more expensive for the church but more friendly for the neighborhood.”

The community is appreciative that the MTC has taken the time and energy to come up with a new plan that takes everyone’s needs into consideration.

“I think this is obviously a very thoughtful attempt for the MTC to be a good neighbor,” Peperone said.

Construction for the new plan will begin summer 2015 and is expected to last two years.

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