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Rendering of the new courtyard area of the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in Provo, Utah.

PROVO, Utah

Dramatic additions to the Provo Missionary Training Center will soon be complete — and you’re invited to take a look around.

The Provo MTC will be hosting public open houses beginning July 31 and running through Aug. 19. The tours will operate six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and be conducted largely by elders and sisters being trained at the center.

Additional tours will be available Aug. 21-25 for registered BYU Education Week participants.

“The missionary department of the Church is delighted with the decision of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to open the new Provo MTC buildings to the public so that all can see this dedicated place of learning for our new missionaries who serve all around the world,” said Elder Brent H. Nielson, a General Authority Seventy and the missionary department’s executive director.

While an MTC is generally not open to the public, Elder Nielson added, “We are hoping that this open house will allow many of our members [and their guests] this rare opportunity to come and feel the spirit of the Provo MTC and learn more about what happens there in the life of a missionary.”

Officials expect hundreds of thousands to tour the facility that began training missionaries nearly four decades ago.

“The tours will allow people who might otherwise not have an opportunity to be inside the MTC to take a peek inside,” said Kelend Mills, the Church’s director of missionary training centers.

The Provo MTC tours will be free but require a ticket. Beginning July 10, people can make open house ticket reservations by visiting mtcopenhouse.lds.org.

The Provo MTC is located at 2005 N. 900 East, just west of the Provo Utah Temple.

Organizers anticipate the tours will last about an hour. Visitors will be able to park at designated lots outside the MTC and will be shuttled to the facility.

The Church announced plans to expand the Provo MTC in 2014, following a dramatic spike in the number of missionaries serving across the globe. The increase was prompted by the 2012 policy change that lowered the ages at which men and women can serve missions.

The two-year expansion project — which is expected to be completed in early June — includes two new six-story buildings, enhanced outdoor space for missionary use, improved landscaping and just over 300 new underground parking stalls.

“We’re wrapping up the project,” said Brother Mills. “We’re now installing the furniture, artwork and other messaging elements.”

The two new buildings house more than 200 new missionary classrooms — along with large meeting spaces for ecclesiastical meetings and other large-group instruction. Many of the classrooms include expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes and buildings, including the Provo Utah Temple and Mount Timpanogos.

The spacious designs in the classrooms and in other open spaces in the new buildings will provide a comfortable, airy environment for missionaries to study together and enjoy quiet contemplation.

The Provo MTC expansion project did not include new living quarters, although some existing dormitories were remodeled to accommodate an increased campus capacity.

Additional future enhancements are being considered that would remove the oldest training buildings on the campus, making room for additional green space and a new entrance to the MTC where missionaries will be greeted when they arrive.

Capacity at the Provo MTC is expected to increase to allow as many as 3,700 missionaries at a time.

While MTC staff members will assist with the open house, missionaries in training at the facility will conduct most of the public tours. The novice missionaries will gain invaluable experience interacting with visitors of all backgrounds.

While the public open house will offer many unprecedented access to the MTC, the training of new missionaries for their assignments around the world will remain the center’s top priority. Some 2,000 missionaries will be residing at the MTC during the open house.

The tours are expected to have “minimal impact” on the day-to-day training of individual missionaries.

Missionary training centers play a key role in the experiences of the tens of thousands of young men, young women and senior couples who answer calls to full-time missionary work each year. There are 15 missionary training centers in operation around the world. The Provo MTC trains missionaries for service worldwide and offers instruction in 55 different languages.

Missionary training goes back to almost the beginning of the restored Church. In 1832, the School of the Prophets was organized so elders could “teach one another” the gospel and “be prepared in all things” for their missionary callings (Doctrine and Covenants 88:77-80, 118).

For more than a century, the Church has formally trained missionaries in several locations, including:

— The Brigham Young Academy (1894)

— The Ricks Academy (early 1900s)

— The Latter-day Saint University (1902)

— The Salt Lake Mission Home (1925)

— The Missionary Language Institute (1961)

— The Language Training Mission (1962; located in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii).

Since opening in 1978, the Provo MTC has trained more than 600,000 missionaries from nearly every country in the world.

The LDS Church News is an official publication of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The publication's content supports the doctrines, principles and practices of the Church.