Temple construction progressing, despite challenges

Grand Junction temple for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Published: Jun. 19, 2023 at 3:28 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Driving along Horizon Drive near 12th Street in Grand Junction, it’s hard not to notice the large building under construction for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The work for the 29,000 square-foot Grand Junction Temple is progressing despite some very real challenges.

The Church broke ground in April, 2022 and like any construction site, the work to build the footings and foundations soon followed. But thanks to what was below the dirt at the site, a typical set of footings and foundation wasn’t a possibility.

“We are on shale and the Church knew that when they purchased the property,” said Paige Storheim, area director of communications for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “And they made plans for that. They built 206 piers that the temple sits on, and then they go down 25 feet. So in a sense, the temple is almost like it’s floating. It’s in suspension.”

The piers, made from poured concrete and several one-inch rebar rods are built throughout the foundation. Once that task was tackled, Storheim said they were able to begin building the structural framework.

“We’re not just throwing up a building here, we’re throwing up something that’s really sacred to us as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Storheim. “So we’re going to take our time to make sure everything’s just right.”

In the middle of the building, crews have the frame work erected for what will be the temple’s one and only spire. Some windows are already installed and even some stonework, which is granite sourced from Portugal, is going up as well.

According to Storheim, another challenge the construction has faced is materials and supply and demand. In addition, she said the labor force is also taking its toll.

“I think that’s been an issue here too,” said Storheim. “Probably most construction places need qualified people that want to work. And so that’s those had been the trickiest spots, I think that we’ve dealt with here.”

At this point, the Church has yet to announce a completion date. Typically, temples take two to three years to finish. Once construction is complete, there will be an open-house period where the community is able to come, visit the temple and walk through what many Latter-day Saints consider one of the holiest places on Earth.

“I hope that they understand how important this is to the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Storheim. “People will come from all over the world to see and to participate in at temple and that it will add to our community here in Grand Junction more than anything. I think that just the community at large will be blessed for it.”