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New MTC expansion plans revealed by LDS Church

PROVO — The LDS Church released preliminary plans Monday for the expansion of its flagship Missionary Training Center in Provo.

Eventually those plans call for a new drive where families will drop off missionaries.

Construction on new, six-story buildings is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2015 and take two years, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced on its website.

The release does not say how many buildings are planned, but the rendering shows four new buildings in place of BYU's laundry and auxiliary maintenance facilities, which are being demolished.

A massive surge in the 18 months since the church lowered the age requirement has boosted the number of missionaries from 58,000 to 85,039.

Once the expansion is complete, the MTC will be able to accommodate 4,500 missionaries at a time, enough for all the missionary training activity expected in Provo.

The MTC currently is designed to hold 3,000 missionaries, but temporary changes like adding more missionaries to each room has increased capacity.

The surge also led the church to open a temporary facility a mile away from the MTC. The temporary facility opened 11 months ago along Freedom Boulevard and was expected to house an additional 1,700 missionaries in some of BYU's Wyview student apartments and at the privately owned Raintree Commons apartment complex.

The new buildings don't include living areas. Existing rooms in MTC residence halls are being remodeled to increase capacity.

The new buildings will include additional space for classroom learning, personal study and other small-group activities.

Once the new buildings are complete, classroom buildings near the MTC entrance will be demolished. In their place will be the new drive where MTC staff will greet new missionaries as they arrive.

Construction plans include 300 underground parking stalls and new outdoor space. They also call for landscaping to improve neighborhood buffers.

The church announced the plans to expand the MTC in November. Church officials chose to expand south of the existing MTC campus where the BYU Laundry Building and the Auxiliary Maintenance Building had been.

BYU, which is operated by the church, determined it would move those facilities across 900 East to its Wymount Terrace married student housing area. To make room for those new buildings, BYU will remove one quad of married apartments this summer.

"We are continuing to make preparations to move our laundry and auxiliary maintenance services to the southwest portion of Wymount Terrace to accommodate the MTC expansion," BYU media relations manager Todd Hollingshead said Monday evening. "Pending approval from the City Council on a rezoning request, we plan to move ahead on the next steps of this project this summer.

"The remaining students living in Quad 7 of Wymount Terrace will be moved out by May 1. We have worked with the students to offer multiple options for new housing, including accommodating those who wish to remain within the Wymount complex."

LDS Church missionaries now serve in more than 150 countries. There are 15 MTCs globally.