Monday, September 30, 2013

Fireside and A Little Snow

I attended a fireside in Springville last night hosted by the Hobblecreek West Stake.  Andy Kirby, one of the project engineers over special projects for the LDS Church, spoke.  Elder Newitt, who serves with his wife at the construction site, was also a speaker.  I took notes and will work the information into this post.  It was a great fireside and this post might be long.  I loved that the opening hymn was #85, How Firm A Foundation.
Elder Newitt reminded us that William Harrison Folsum was the architect for the Provo Tabernacle.  
Brother Folsum designed the Manti Temple.  After the tabernacle fire, Church architects studied the details of this temple to become familiar with his work, an experience which Brother Kirby said was extremely interesting.  In designing the new Provo Temple they asked, "If he were still alive today, what would Brother Folsum do with this temple?"
Elder Newitt has extensively studied the history of this beautiful building.  The original stake supporting the tabernacle stretched from the Point of the Mountain to Santaquin.  Along with being assessed for the tabernacle's construction, these early members were asked to pay for the ongoing work on the Salt Lake Temple and an education building on campus.  The initial estimated cost of the tabernacle was $50,000, but the actual cost upon completion was about $100,000.  
When the tabernacle was finally paid for in 1898, President George Q. Cannon traveled to Provo to dedicate it.  However, we know from a banner put up by the Provo South Stake that the building was in use as early as 1886 for the Church's general conference.
Brother Kirby said something I found particularly interesting.  Elder Newitt and Brother Kirby both spoke of the sacrifices and hard work by the pioneers to build this structure, who donated not just money, but their own labor, even when they had their own homes to build and corn to plant and harvest.  
Today, Brother Kirby said, we are removed from the hard work and sacrifice of building this temple.  The financial support, which is carefully watched, comes from our tithing funds.  Brother Kirby pays the contractors, but we need to appreciate the hard work.  The workmen have just completed a very hot summer, with weeks of temperatures above 100 degrees.  You can see in this photo that winter is approaching.
Brother Kirby said we would see the roof go up this fall, which of course will help the workmen, but he declined to give any kind of a timeline.  He also said the square footage of the new temple was not public information.
At one point Brother Kirby became very serious and said that the work on the tabernacle is hard and often dangerous.  While every precaution is taken, he asked us to pray for the workmen so they could return to their families each night.  I thought of his words this morning at the site while I watched Mr. Crane bring two scissor ladders into the upper level of the building.
The center tower was removed in 1919 because its weight caused the roof to sag.  Steel supports will hold the weight of a new center tower.  The roof will have slate shingles.  A 13 foot statue of Moroni will be placed on the center tower.
Brother Kirby told us that he was initially hired to restore this tabernacle to its former splendor after the 2010 fire.  His crew's first task was to remove thirty feet of debris and make the structure safe for fire investigators and insurance adjusters.  Steel braces were placed around the exterior for support.  If you remember the information he gave at an earlier fireside, there was concern that after the roof collapsed and pulled down three gables, the walls might fall in.  During the summer of 2011, Brother Kirby's team was asked if the building could function as a temple.  He was also asked to keep that question quiet, which Brother Kirby said was "a considerable challenge."  During President Monson's conference address in October of 2011, Brother Kirby, along with everyone else, learned the decision had been made to turn the tabernacle into a temple.  In this photo you are seeing the foundation of the original Provo Tabernacle, which stood just north of the tabernacle we know today.
As the rubble was being removed, a set of scriptures which had been kept on the pulpit were recovered.  They smell of smoke, but Brother Kirby showed them to us last night.  Also, the pulpit was recovered intact.  This marvelous piece of pioneer craftsmanship will be placed in the chapel which will face the north side of the building, seen here on the right at ground level.
Elder Newitt and Brother Kirby both described the beautiful woodwork in the tabernacle.  Everything was documented during the cleanup process and the engineers worked with the Church History Department so the building could be restored to the same style and quality built by the pioneers.  Elder Newitt said, "The beauty of the craftsmanship inspires me to live my life a little better."  This view of the ground floor from the east shows where two "A" endowment rooms will face.  Patrons will advance to the second level "B" endowment room through stairwells in the towers.  
Five sealing rooms will be on the upper level.  The largest will be under the west gable seen here on the left.  The lower floors will be influenced in their decoration by the style of the architect Charles Eastlake.
The Maeser District of Provo was built at the same time the tabernacle was under construction.  This past summer I walked through this beautiful neighborhood looking for examples of Eastlake architecture.  Geometric designs are part of this style.
Shingles under dormer eaves are also very Eastlake.
All of the buildings I saw on my walk were still in use.
Wilford Woodruff served as President of the Church during much of the time the tabernacle was constructed.
President Woodruff dedicated the Salt Lake Temple in 1893.  However, the St. George Temple, the Manti Temple and the Logan Temple were already dedicated and in use by this time.  Seventeen temples are in use or announced in Utah today.
I spied this light fixture through an open window of one of these homes.  Eastlake architecture included low relief carvings, especially in metal work.
This photo is of a doorknob from the tabernacle with relief carvings.
Brother Kirby explained that as patrons progress to the upper level, they will see Pioneer Gothic design in the architecture, which has more of a Victorian flair.  For example, the sealing rooms will have double vaulted ceilings.  
This stained glass window was in the tabernacle.  Craftsmen will create new art glass for the temple windows.
Brother Kirby told us that the upper level will have many stained glass windows with light flowing from the sealing rooms into the rest of the interior.
I found quite a few examples of stained glass on my walk through the Maeser neighborhood.
The pioneers, even though they were building cities from scratch, still appreciated beautiful things.
I saw this window this morning on an old home south of the tabernacle.
Diamond shapes in these windows are an example of geometric design.
Brother Kirby told us that as much brick as possible was salvaged after the fire, but it was not enough to complete the new temple  The Church found brick which was fired during the same years the tabernacle was built and which has the same texture and shape.  It has been cleaned, sorted and is now stored, waiting to be used in the new temple.  This picture of the former east side entrance shows three widths of brick.  Originally there were five widths.  Two were removed and as much brick as possible will be reused.  You can also see a layer of shotcrete which was applied over rebar to stabilize the building before the exterior beams were removed.  As much interior space was preserved as possible.
Brother Kirby told us that the grand staircase, which will lead from lower level 1 to the upper level, will have the same quality of craftsmanship in its woodwork as was in the tabernacle.  The netting seen in this photo, taken from the east, marks where the staircase will rise through the ground level.
Brother Kirby answered questions and explained that there will be two entrances to the temple, both from the south.  This entrance is at the ground level and the netting from the previous picture can be seen.
He explained that the underground entrance, seen here below the main floor entrance, will lead into a hall going straight through to the annex.
This morning my camera peeked into lower level 1 and found these curved forms.  The baptistry will be on this level and I suspect these forms are related to its construction.  A member of the congregation last night asked if the rumor he'd heard that there would be two baptistries in the new temple were true.  Brother Kirby answered that he'd asked that question and was told that there is only one font in each temple.
Brother Kirby talked about waterproofing the new temple and admitted he was motivated to make this perfect because of problems he'd had with a leak in his own basement. The water table is 20 feet below the surface, the level we are seeing here.  But the lowest level of the basement is 20 feet deeper.  The black you are seeing on the exterior of the annex wall is a protective layer over the waterproof membrane and will cover the entire exterior of the foundation.  Past the east annex wall you can see a new slab which was poured Saturday.
The yellow plastic is a vapor layer which sits between the 18 inches of gravel and the new slab.  It is designed to keep humidity inside the temple.  
From the construction cam you can see the progress they are making in covering the rest of the gravel.  This vapor layer will be covered with concrete soon.
This half of the west lot received a pour this morning which started at 2 am but was completed by the time I arrived about 9.  The sumps we have been watching are clearly visible on the right, and notice the slight grade, designed so water will drain to the sumps.
Brother Kirby initially told the congregation that he wanted to teach gospel principles by showing construction pictures.  He said the foundation of the temple was five feet thick and was strengthened with steel.  He asked us to think about our personal foundations and what the steel was we were using.  He shared his testimony that the gospel of Jesus Christ was the very best foundation, and we would be wise to build on that.  He suggested that our steel be the the iron rod.
As I walked around the site this morning, I was surprised to see the entrance on the west side being revamped. The road under the white truck and yellow track hoe used to be the route to the post office.  The new entrance to the underground parking is just behind the workman on the right.  For the time being, cars drive on the other side of the entrance.
Here is a different view of that same area.  Brother Kirby said that it had been fortunate that Nu Skin was revamping their campus at the same time the Church decided to construct the new temple.  They had worked together and this entrance is part of that collaboration.
It is anticipated that when the Provo City Center Temple is dedicated, it will immediately be at full capacity, just as the Provo Temple and American Fork Temples are, and as the Payson Temple will be.  Brother Kirby told us that the decision to build this temple was a direct result of the faithfulness of the members of the Church in Utah Valley.
Elder Newitt told us that this temple will stand as a memorial to the pioneer builders.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Cloudy Friday

Cloudy day and 43 degrees.  The workers had on gloves.
Someone had cleaned the upper north lot and I was able to get a nice picture.
Maybe they are making room for a concrete pump.
To compare, here is the south face.  The north side foundation is as open as this one is, but from Center Street where I was standing in the earlier picture, you saw the tabernacle at ground level.
For good measure, here is the tabernacle from the construction cam!  It was repaired just as I got home from the site.
This picture, taken about an hour earlier, shows the beginnings of a yellow plastic sandwich.
When finished, there will be concrete on the top and gravel on the bottom.
Men are working on forms in the west lot.  My camera doesn't handle perspective well.  These forms are very long.  Notice the vertical concrete wall on the left side of the picture.
This view from the west shows that same concrete wall and the length of forms.
There are now four distinct floors in the temple.  You are seeing the ground level.
With the cam back up, we can see level 2.  One large endowment room will be on the east side near University Avenue.  The Celestial room will be in the center.  Five sealing rooms will also be on this level, three under the the gables, and two on the north and south sides.
My camera zoomed in from the north and caught this ladder in time out.
This is a peek inside at lower level 1, with a ladder trying to keep his feet dry after yesterday's rain.  A slab like this will be poured next week on the lowest level below this floor.
Concrete was poured on the northeast tower foundation.
The southeast tower foundation is still being formed.
Daddy Track Hoe was working at the southwest corner the entire time I was at the site this morning.  I couldn't figure out what he was doing.
The west lot should get a pour next week, too.  I'll miss the green rebar brightening things up.
The South Stake has hung another informative banner, this one timely with general conference approaching.  The 1886 and 1887 April Conferences were held in Provo.
Apparently in 1886 the tabernacle wasn't quite ready for conference, but everyone worked together and made it happen.
Just like today -- everyone is working to make this happen!