New nine-story MTC building the subject of meeting between LDS Church, neighbors

Published: Wednesday, March 21 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Additions to existing buildings

Replacement of existing buildings with multiple smaller buildings, or even two five-story buildings

New construction on church-owned property to the north, east and south of the MTC

Decentralization of missionary training

Establishment of additional MTCs in the United States

Greater use of international MTCs (actually taking place)

Reduction of MTC training time (currently being tested)

Eventually all of the options were eliminated except the nine-story building.

"Some of the options didn't meet our needs," Heaton said. "Others limited our options for future growth. Some were eliminated because of excessive costs. And others expanded the current MTC footprint, which we saw as being more intrusive on the local community than building a nine-story building."

A group of decision-makers, which included the LDS Church's First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, determined that the most reasonable alternative was to demolish the Ballard Building and construct the new building in its place.

"After we moved the bookstore and the mailroom to other locations on the campus, the Ballard Building only had 20 classrooms that we have to absorb elsewhere," Heaton said. "We can do that."

Demolition of the Ballard Building is scheduled to begin in July, with completion of the new building anticipated late in 2014.

Heaton said that each floor of the new 161-foot tall building will feature 16 classrooms, one or two large workshop rooms, seven or eight small practice teaching rooms, two computer labs and quiet space for prayer and reflection. Once the new building is operational, the other four training buildings will be demolished to make room for something that is in short supply on the current MTC campus: green space.

Of course, the demolition of five buildings and the construction of a new large building on the MTC campus will have some impact on the surrounding community, which is another reason why the community meeting is being held Thursday evening.

"We're going to do everything we can to minimize neighborhood impacts," Heaton said. "Construction-related traffic will be routed on 900 East or University Parkway through BYU parking lots, and not on neighborhood streets. Work hours will be limited to be from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Construction workers will be asked to park in the church parking lot, and not on neighborhood streets.

"We can't do this project without having some impact," Heaton continued. "But there are a lot of things we can do to keep that impact to a minimum."

EMAIL: jwalker@desnews.com

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