OREM — A mere 67 days after President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to build a temple in Orem, the location was unveiled Wednesday in a news release by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The Orem Utah Temple will be built half a mile south of I-15’s University Parkway exit near the nexus of major population, commercial and industrial growth in Provo, Orem and Vineyard. The address — 1471 S. Geneva Road — is almost directly west across the freeway from the Orem Walmart.
The church also considered a site in Lindon and multiple sites in Vineyard and Orem, Orem Mayor Richard Brunst said. He sent the church an email four years ago suggesting the area’s growth and the expansion of Utah Valley University would support a temple.
“It’s exciting to have our own temple in our own city,” he said. “I think it will be highly used.”
The sacred new building will create an unprecedented concentration of temples. The church operates 166 temples, which differ from the meetinghouses where the faith’s 30,000 congregations hold Sunday worship services.
The new temple will be a mile up Geneva Road from Provo, already home to two temples. The Orem Temple will sit 5 miles from the Provo City Center Temple and 5.5 miles from the Provo Temple.
Brunst said his family regularly does family history and temple work at the Provo Temple and the Mount Timpanogos Temple, 10 miles north in American Fork.
“The exponential growth in family history and temple work has made all of the temples here very busy,” he said.
Rising population is creating some of that demand. Utah County’s population grew by nearly 135,000 people this decade, according to estimates released Monday by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. Provo has nearly 120,000 residents. Orem has about 97,000.
Vineyard, about a mile north of the new temple site, has been the nation’s fastest-growing city of more than 1,000 for four consecutive years, jumping 63% in 2018 from 3,877 residents to 10,052.
Vineyard is emerging from a tiny farming town with a few longtime resident families into an exploding commuter city of starter homes and apartment buildings built on the sprawling former Geneva Steel campus.
Orem’s west side is expanding, too, with new housing for students of the state’s largest higher education institution, Utah Valley University. Much of the growth is near the Utah Transit Authority’s Orem station, a hub for the FrontRunner train system and buses that include the new Utah Valley Express line. UVX connects UVU and the University Place mall in Orem to Brigham Young University and the Provo Towne Center mall in Provo.
Western Provo also is expanding with new homes and the new Provo High School west of Geneva Road.
The Orem temple will be a 15-minute walk from the Orem FrontRunner station. UVU is about to begin construction of a pedestrian bridge to the station from its campus across the freeway.
South Jordan, Utah, is the only other city with two Latter-day Saint temples — Jordan River and Oquirrh Mountain. They are 4 miles apart. The Provo and Provo City Center temples are 3 miles apart. The troika of Provo and Orem temples are more concentrated geographically than the trio in the southern Salt Lake Valley of the two South Jordan temples and the Draper Utah Temple.
The church’s news release said the Orem temple will be located on a 16-acre site. The site is part of 250 acres Orem annexed from Utah County about five years ago, Brunst said.
The mayor said the site is bordered by condos on the north, undeveloped land on the south, railroad tracks on the east and one of Orem’s last dairy farms across Geneva Road to the west.
The church’s plans call for a three-story temple of 70,000 square feet. It also plans to construct a 20,000-square-foot meetinghouse on the site.
Church leaders originally responded to Brunst’s email with a message that they appreciated his request and would consider it. After President Nelson announced the temple on Oct. 5, Orem officials first met with the church on Oct. 30. The church’s staff told Brunst they had his email with them.
The two groups met again on Monday.
“We’ll be ready to work with them,” Brunst said. “They told us they expect about a two-year construction project and that they hope to start in the next six to 12 months.”
The church also announced the locations of two other temples on Wednesday.
The Taylorsville Utah Temple will be constructed on a 7.5-acre site at 2603 W. 4700 South. It will be the same size as the Orem temple. The church will remove and not replace an existing meetinghouse on the Taylorsville site.
Utah now has 17 temples. Six more have been announced — Orem, Taylorsville, Layton, Saratoga Springs, Tooele Valley and Washington County. When those are completed, Utah County will have six temples.
The McAllen Texas Temple, which will be the state’s fifth, will be built on a 10.6-acre site located on the northwest corner of Second Street and West Trenton Road. The single-story temple will have about 25,000 square feet. The church will construct an adjacent meetinghouse with 17,000 square feet.