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Church announces what will replace North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square

The North Visitors’ Center on Temple Square will be demolished later this year as part of the ongoing Salt Lake Temple renovation project.

The area will be replaced with open gardens and space for contemplation by 2023. This is in line with the announcement two years ago from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ President Russell M. Nelson that the project will “enhance, refresh, and beautify the temple and its surrounding grounds.”

“This area will become a peaceful, quiet space on Temple Square,” said Andy Kirby, director of historic temple renovations for the Church. “The plans for this area will also provide a more direct and clear view of the Salt Lake Temple from the northwest area of Temple Square, enhancing the prominence of the temple.”

Restrooms will be added to support events in the Tabernacle and Assembly Hall.

The North Visitors’ Center was built in 1963 to welcome visitors to Temple Square from the north side of the temple block. The building included an 11-foot replica of Bertel Thorvaldsen’s ‘Christus’ (the original sits in the Church of Our Lady, a Lutheran church, in Copenhagen, Denmark). The replica will be carefully removed from the facility this summer for preservation. It will be reinstalled on Temple Square at the end of the renovation process.

“The North Visitors’ Center has already begun the process of decommissioning,” Kirby said. “This means that all art, exhibits, and materials will be removed from the building in preparation for the work. After that process, crews will begin evaluation for abatement of any hazardous materials.”

At the start of the Temple Square renovation project in January 2020, the main arrival center and primary venue for guests shifted to the Conference Center. There, patrons can see a smaller replica of the ‘Christus,’ the cutaway model of the Salt Lake Temple, and premier views of Temple Square and the Salt Lake Temple renovation. Visitors will also find immersive and interactive experiences to help them understand the history and significance of the Salt Lake Temple. These include an orientation film, a media presentation about the importance of social and religious gatherings, historical artifacts and photos, and sacred art galleries.

Guests are invited to take tours (either self-guided or with missionaries) in the Conference Center. Visit TempleSquare.org for more information.

Press release from Newsroom.
Lead image: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.  
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