LDS Church submits temporary Provo MTC plans to city

Published: Thursday, May 16 2013 11:35 p.m. MDT

Raintree Commons apartments will go through a transition during the next month as the facility goes from being a popular residence for college students to being a resident and classroom complex for LDS missionaries in training.

Joe Walker, Deseret News

PROVO — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has submitted to Provo City officials its plans for creating a new, temporary extension of its missionary training facilities in Provo.

The plans will utilize existing facilities at two of the city's many student-oriented apartment complexes, Raintree Commons and Wyview Park. In addition to using existing apartments for housing and classroom facilities, the plans call for the placement of five temporary buildings on what is now parking space on the Raintree Commons property.

The new buildings — including three fitness facilities, a dining facility and a services facility — will be temporary "in the sense that they can probably be taken down easily if that is needed," said Gary McGinn, director of community development for Provo.

"My understanding is that the fitness facilities will be 'bubble buildings,' and that the service and the dining facilities will be more like the temporary classrooms you see at many public schools," McGinn added.

While the new facilities clearly fit within the existing zoning structure for the Wyview and Raintree complexes, McGinn indicated there may be some utility issues — water, gas and electrical connections, for example — that may require city input.

"We'll work with them on those types of issues," McGinn said.

Much of the work being done to turn the apartment complexes into housing and classrooms for as many as 1,700 missionaries can be completed without city permits or approvals.

"If you're just re-carpeting and changing the furniture, taking out beds and putting in desks and whiteboards, they can just go ahead and do that," McGinn said. Modifications to existing buildings may require a building permit, which is easily obtained. But erecting new structures, even if they are temporary, requires project plan approval, which McGinn expects to happen by the first of June.

Church officials confirmed Thursday that they intend to begin housing missionaries at the new MTC extension by the end of May, although the number housed there at first will be small while work continues on the transition from apartment complexes to MTC. Which means missionaries will begin arriving at the MTC extension before work can even begin on the new dining and fitness facilities.

"I'm thinking Denny's for breakfast, McDonald's for lunch and Cafe Rio for dinner," McGinn joked. Which would probably be fine with a lot of the new missionaries. But the actual plan is for the missionaries to have their meals catered at the Raintree complex's multi-purpose room while work is continuing on the new temporary dining facility.

Completion of the temporary MTC extension — and arrival of the full complement of 1,700 missionaries to the new training facility — is expected by the end of the summer.

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