Brigham Young University has announced plans to replace the Joseph Smith Memorial Building with a new structure that will be more efficient and accessible.

The new structure, which will comply with earthquake and building codes, will be dedicated as the Joseph Smith Memorial Building and be situated on the same site as the existing building at south edge of campus.Originally BYU hoped to refurbish the existing building, as it has done the Maeser, Grant and Brimhall buildings in recent years, but design limitations, safety factors, utility problems and a number of other obstacles made such a project impossible.

Careful study showed that a new structure will provide significantly more efficient use of space and resolve a number of serious problems that remodeling cannot address.

"The Joseph Smith Memorial Building, which serves as the center for our Religious Education and larger General Education classes, is one of the most heavily used buildings on campus, yet it is perhaps the least efficient in utilization of floor space and internal accessibility," said Jeffrey R. Holland, president of BYU.

"Its history of accommodation to changing campus needs . . . has left the Joseph Smith Memorial Building a hopeless array of awkwardly arranged wings, levels and stairways," he said.

Norman W. Faldmo, BYU director of planning and construction, said the old building cannot be heated or cooled uniformly; its staircases are inadequate to handle traffic flows, it has limited access and no elevator for the handicapped; and doesn't meet modern seismic requirements or building codes.

The new building, slated for occupancy during fall semester of 1991, will be much more efficient and will be designed specifically to provide classrooms, conference areas, an auditorium and offices for BYU's Religious Education curriculum.

The facility also will be used for general education classes and serve as home for several LDS student wards.