The old Lafayette School building, once used as a training center for LDS missionaries, tumbled to the ground Wednesday as a demolition crew began clearing the site to make way for a parking lot.
The LDS Church bought the school on the northwest corner of State and North Temple about 25 years ago. The church remodeled it and used it as part of its missionary-training center from 1971 until 1978, when the building was turned into church offices.The upper floors of the three-story school, built in the 1920s, were condemned in 1992.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continued to use the main floor of the school until two months ago, when it vacated the building, said Kent Money, president of Zions Securities Corp. Zions manages real estate properties for the LDS Church.
Money said the demolition crew will spend two or three weeks hauling debris from the site. The property, which is north of the LDS Church administration building, then will be made into an employee parking lot.
"One of the reasons we need that for parking is the city acquired the parking lot across the street to the east, which the church has been using for employee parking," Money said.
The city plans to turn the parking lot into a park.
The LDS Church tore down another property it owned on the same block at the end of June. The Royal Arms apartment complex, which stood on the corner of North Temple and West Temple for 66 years, was structurally decayed, and the cost for renovating the building would have been exorbitant.
Fewer than half of the Royal Arms' 36 units were occupied when the LDS Church opted to tear the building down. The lost apartment units will be made up in part by a new 45-unit complex the LDS Church is building at 158 N. Main. The new complex will be completed in about three months.
The Royal Arms property is temporarily being used as a parking lot until the LDS Church decides what to do with it.