PROVO — BYU alums, remember that thick shade tree on campus that you enjoyed studying or snoozing under years ago?
You can likely find it replicated in a massive 3D campus model unveiled this week at the school’s Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center.
The fun is in the details.
At a scale of 1 inch equals 45 feet, the 9-by-12-foot diorama copies not only almost all of the buildings and physical structures on the BYU campus — designers even attempted to 3D print almost every single tree.
The model even features a tiny representation of the Provo Utah Temple.
“The level of detail is absolutely amazing,” said BYU President Kevin J Worthen at the unveiling ceremony.
The project was funded by Stephanie S. and John L. Sorensen, a pair of BYU alums who met on a blind date while undergraduates.
The diorama is expected to be a must-see attraction for both first-time visitors to Brigham Young University and returning alumni.
Utilizing an interactive program, visitors can select areas on campus that they would like to learn more about, and the corresponding area on the model lights up. Meanwhile, a screen provides details about the selected area.
“As visitors come here, before they go on campus, they get to change their perspective — and set their perspective in a wonderful way,” said Worthen.
Designed by the Ogden-based 3D model company WhiteClouds, the diorama offers plenty of gee-whiz elements.
• Design efforts began in early 2018. Installing the model at the BYU visitors center required some 240 hours.
• Approximately 367 acres of the campus are represented.
• Some 2,750 hours were spent in designing the model.
• Designers needed 650 hours to print the 81 different buildings.
• Approximately 700 cars are included in the model.
Stephanie Sorensen said she has always been passionate about maps — “and this is the ultimate map.” Like the gospel of Jesus Christ, she added, a map offers direction and perspective.
Keen-eyed viewers can also spot a fun Easter egg that doubles as a lasting nod to the diorama's benefactors. Two tiny figures representing the Sorensens are found holding hands near the residential area of campus they once called home as a young couple.
“That is so meaningful,” she said. “Every time we come here it’s going to be fun (relocating the figures). We love BYU and everything BYU represents.”
John Sorensen thanked BYU and WhiteClouds' leadership and employees for making the campus model possible. Now living in Orange County, California, the Sorensens treasure their ongoing connection to their alma mater.
“We had so many beautiful experiences here at BYU as young people,” he said. “We had the opportunity to be taught and educated, which gave us the foundation to go into the world and start a business, work hard and be blessed financially.”
The simple yet detailed representations captured in the campus model are reflective of Christ’s teachings, he added.
“The gospel,” he said, “is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.”
Located near the center of campus, BYU’s Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.