"Physical fitness is an important part of missionary training. The LTM/MTC’s original gym — since remodeled to become part of the current MTC cafeteria — provided a place to become physically fit and to participate in recreation.
First at the LTM and then at the renamed Missionary Training Center, missionaries spent many classroom hours each day learning foreign language and missionary discussions, practicing teaching skills, studying scriptures and developing deeper understanding of gospel doctrines and principles.
The young missionary on the right is eating the first meal served at the new Language Training Center in 1976.
The dedication of Phase I of the new Language Training Mission was performed Sept. 27, 1976 by LDS Church president Spencer W. Kimball, with Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles conducting the services. The First Presidency, members of the Quorum of the Twelve and other LDS general authorities were in attendance, as were past LTM presidents, other church, university and civic leaders and some 1,300 full-time missionaries.
Upon completition, the Wilford Woodruff Administration Building soon opened its doors, welcoming thousands of missionaries crossing its threshold for years to come.
Brick was laid on warm winter days. The final construction of Phase I was completed by August 1976, with the first missionaries entering on Aug. 3.
By Nov. 1 of that year, the foundations of several buildings already were above ground.
On July 18, 1974, ground was broken for the Phase I construction of the new Language Training Mission. Elder Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, presided at the ground-breaking.
The site chosen of the New Language Training Mission was a 26-acre plot directly north of the BYU campus and southwest of the new Provo Temple.
To alleviate the constant overcrowding at the BYU-based Language Training Mission, a totally new and separate Language Training Mission complex was constructed in 1976 — and renamed the Provo Missionary Training Center two years later when all missionaries were assigned to start there, whether they were learning a new language or not. Still one of the largest and most complete language training facilities in the world, it originally contained 37 offices, 22 chapels, 290 classrooms, 12 observation rooms, and enough housing for 2,974 missionaries. Also included in the complex — a multipurpose room, cafeteria, kitchen and food storage area, learning resource center, teacher’s lounge, bookstore and health center. In all, the center occupied a total of 605,707 square feet.