When President Russell M. Nelson was called as president of the Church in 2018, there were 159 temples in operation. Since that time, 133 new temples have been announced along with numerous other temple restoration and construction projects around the world.
“We can’t take five or 10 years to build a temple now and keep up with President Nelson,” Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, told Church Newsroom. “[We must find] ways to be more productive, to use sacred resources more effectively, to perhaps change the way we do things in some ways.”
And with the help of an ingenious construction design company in Alabama, the Church has found a way to keep up with the demands of new temple projects—by building modular temples.
► You may also like: Which Latter-day Saint temples don’t have an angel Moroni statue?
A company called BLOX, based in Bessemer, Alabama, has helped the Church pilot a revolutionary modular construction method to enable a lightning-fast build time for new temples. The Helena Montana Temple structure was assembled on site in just two weeks.
“No buildings have ever been tried to be built at this level with modular construction,” said Matt Burke of the Church’s Special Projects Department.
Prior to working with the Church, BLOX’s focus was on emergency rooms in hospitals and rapidly assembled isolation care units to address bed shortages due to COVID-19. Now, a modular temple project has been developed “so that we can take the temple anywhere in the world,” Burke said.
With the new Helena Montana Temple, the 10,000-square-foot, 96-foot-high temple was created from 25 prefabricated pieces—all manufactured in Alabama—which were then shrink-wrapped and shipped to the temple site in Montana. The modular walls and floors were then assembled on site, and electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling and ventilation systems, art deco stone cladding, and towers were all added later.
Prior to beginning the project, BLOX CEO Chris Giattina and his team visited temples in Arizona and Tennessee to learn more about the Church’s temples. Since then, Giattina has called the temple program “exquisite” and “sacred.” “It is not just something that you casually go about,” he told Church Newsroom, and BLOX has spared no expense in perfecting their methods and precision. Gattina says that when they assemble the units, the team knows within the width of a laser whether each piece is plumb or not.
You can read the full story and find more information about the Helena Montana Temple open house and upcoming dedication on Church Newsroom.
► You may also like: Which Latter-day Saint temples are under construction around the world?