LDS Church announces dates for Provo City Center dedication

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Allie Hamilton
Most of the exterior of the Provo Tabernacle was preserved in the construction of the Provo City Center Temple. The LDS Church has announced dates for the new temple’s open house and dedication. (Allie Arnell)

The LDS Church has announced open house and dedication dates for the Provo City Center Temple.

A free public open house will take place from Friday, Jan. 15, to Saturday, March 5, 2016, at the temple’s location on 100 S. University Ave. The temple will be dedicated Sunday, March 20, 2016, according to Mormon Newsroom.

Media representatives from the church are not ready to give any more updates but say they will be releasing more information as the open house approaches.

To honor and preserve the area’s pioneer history, the new temple is being built from the remains of the Provo Tabernacle that burned in December 2010.

President George Q. Cannon dedicated the Provo Tabernacle in 1898. It seated about 3,000 people and was used for church meetings, musical performances and community events. On Dec. 17, 2010, a massive fire in the middle of the night left the building’s interior in ruins. Officials believe the fire was caused by a light that was placed too close to wooden materials.

Many in the Provo community still remember that day as an upsetting loss. Nu Skin employee Carolyn Taylor, who has worked at the company’s Provo location for more than 20 years, shared her reaction to the loss of the tabernacle.

“I remember rounding the corner that December morning and seeing the tabernacle. We all took a collective gasp,” Taylor said.

The public was unsure about the future of the Provo Tabernacle until October 2011, when LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson announced it would be reconstructed as a temple. Construction began on May 12, 2012.

Upon the completion of the Provo City Center Temple, Provo will be the second city to have two LDS temples. South Jordan is the only other city with two temples — the Jordan River Temple and the Oquirrh Mountain Temple. Provo Temple workers are unsure of the impact the new temple will have on temple patrons and workers.

The Provo City Center Temple will be a unique addition to the temples of the church because of its proximity to the Provo Temple and its historical significance.

“In many ways, it would be easier to tear down the shell of the Provo Tabernacle and start over with a brand-new building, but the decision was made to restore the building instead because it provides a tangible connection to Provo’s pioneer past,” curator of church historic sites Emily Utt said in a press release.

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