As part of the Historic Provo days of the Freedom Festival, I went to a presentation by the project manager of the Provo City Center Temple. It was fascinating. I loved this cut away diagram. It is as if you removed the east side of the temple.
The project manager is also a civil engineer and he was so excited to tell us how they solved all the problems of keeping what was left of an over one hundred year old building, in use since 1898, to create a glorious new temple. The original brick walls were five bricks wide. They removed the inner two bricks, reinforced the walls with rebar and then put concrete on the inside.
It was an amazing feat to excavate beneath the structure while essentially placing it on stilts. The plans called for creating two underground levels so 40 feet of earth was removed. This also included a system for removing ground water which was found at 20 feet. There were sensors placed at each piling and yes, those sensors did sense movement as the sun rose and there were temperature changes.
And finally it became an enclosed space and foundation.
The Provo Tabernacle was designed by the same architect who designed the Manti Temple. William H. Folsom, a Salt Lake City architect, moved to Manti to supervise construction and interestingly both buildings were under construction during the same time period.
For more about the Manti Temple go here.
Each time I have gone to the post office which sits to the southwest of the construction site, I have taken a picture or two.
The original building had a center spire which was later removed because it was causing the ceiling to bow. That feature is being recreated on the new temple.
All winter, I wondered why the building was wrapped in white plastic. Now I know. There was a gap between the building and the plastic and inside that gap was a cadre of brick masons who were removing the 100 year plus mortar and replacing it with new mortar although of the same "recipe." The bricks of this structure are relatively soft and they would be compromised with a hard mortar. The white plastic was to protect the masons from the cold winter elements.
This is what I saw this week. The underground level is now out of sight and workers were trimming rebar from the reinforced concrete atop what will be underground parking.
A pavilion is being constructed on this concrete. It will be a viewing area, glass enclosed, for those waiting for brides and grooms to exit the building or just to enjoy the beauty of the place.
It is summer, so the masons continue to work brick by brick but with out the white covering on the south side.
Completion is still more that a year out, but the excitement builds. The focus will soon be on the interior.
Who could believe that when this building burned on December 17, 2010 that something wonderful could rise from the ashes. The interior will be decorated in the Victorian style of the original tabernacle. There will be art glass and other features to match what used to be. After the fire, they spent six months sifting through the inside salvaging anything that they could for historical purposes. It wasn't until October Conference 2011 that those who proceeded with the salvage operation knew the true purpose of their work. The new tower with the Angel Moroni will be the location of the Celestial Room with sealing rooms to the north and south. It truly will be glorious!
For more extensive information go here.