The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints plans on demolishing five buildings of the Provo Missionary Training Center and replacing them with open spaces and study areas, Church spokesman Daniel Woodruff confirmed.
He also confirmed those five buildings are the Melvin J. Ballard, Samuel H. Smith, Heber C. Kimball, George Q. Cannon and Ben E. Rich buildings, located in the center of the Provo MTC.
With the exception of the Melvin J. Ballard building, all the buildings now slated for demolition were primarily classroom buildings, according to the Church News. The Ballard building has housed the MTC bookstore, the MTC mailroom, the Training Resource Center and four large-group meeting rooms, according to the Church’s website.
The Heber C. Kimball and George Q. Cannon buildings were part of the centralized Language Training Mission announced by the Church in 1974. The Language Training Mission was first established at BYU in 1961 and then expanded to Ricks College and the Church College of Hawaii, according to the February 1974 Ensign, though the latter two locations were scheduled to be closed upon the completion of the updates.
Woodruff said in a statement that these buildings are older and have not been in use since the new training buildings were completed in 2017. Demolition is expected to begin in the summer.
“Missionaries will certainly notice the demolition going on, but again, these buildings are not currently being used and the project will not impact the missionaries’ daily training schedules,” he said.
Woodruff also said this decision is a continuation of the master plan for updating and improving the Provo MTC.
Major changes were first announced in 2011, when the Church said it would replace the Melvin J. Ballard building with a nine-story building. But after push-back from the community and the missionary age change in 2012, those plans were ultimately scrapped.
In November 2014, the Church announced the addition of several new buildings just south of the existing complex. Construction began the summer following the announcement, and was completed in 2017. The expansions gave the Provo MTC the capacity to train as many as 3,700 missionaries at a time, according to the Church’s press release.
There are currently 12 missionary training centers around the world, according to the Church’s website, and over 65,000 full-time missionaries serving worldwide, according to the Church’s newsroom website.