POCATELLO — Construction has officially begun on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple on the city’s north side.
Just three days after the temple’s March 16 groundbreaking ceremony, construction equipment arrived at the site off Satterfield Drive and construction barriers and trailers popped up.
Currently, the site is undergoing grading. Construction vehicles moving along Satterfield Drive to and from the site have become a common occurrence that will last for the next two to three years — the time LDS church officials say it will take to complete the temple.
The LDS church has not released any information about when any other construction milestones, such as the pouring of concrete or building of the temple’s walls, will be reached.
One of the major milestones will be a statue of the angel Moroni being placed on the top of the temple. This is typically one of the final touches to the structure before it’s completed.
Larry Fisher, the LDS church’s director of public affairs for the Pocatello area, said he does not know when the angel Moroni statue will be placed on the Pocatello temple but it will definitely be a big event.
“It’s definitely a monumental milestone as they’re building the temple,” Fisher said. “There’s always a lot of interest when that happens.”
The temple will be built with its front door directly facing straight down the middle of Butte Street which connects to Satterfield. Fisher said the temple’s architect, Bill Williams, wanted the view off Butte Street to be the first thing people saw when coming out of the temple.
“The view of the valley and American Falls and the mountains was so beautiful that (Williams) said he wanted to capture that,” Fisher said.
Williams, who grew up in Pocatello and attended Pocatello High School, borrowed some architectural designs from his old high school as well as buildings at Idaho State University and in Old Town for the exterior of the temple.
Okland Construction, a Salt Lake City-based company that the church frequently uses for building temples, will be the general contractor. Okland will be assisted by local construction companies and there will be around 80 to 120 workers at the site on any given day.
The church also has its own project manager from its temple department who will oversee the construction from Salt Lake City.
This project manager will be assisted by Roger and Glenda Prewitt, a couple from Indiana who were assigned to the Pocatello temple as part of an LDS church service mission.
According to Fisher, most church missions are 12, 18 or 24 months. However, the Prewitts’ mission began the day after the temple’s groundbreaking and will end when the temple is dedicated, which could be three years from now.
Roger was a project executive for the general contractor for the building of the Indianapolis LDS temple, Fisher said. Roger retired in February and then began preparing for his mission in Pocatello.
The Prewitts will be at the temple site overseeing construction and acting as a liaison between the church and Okland Construction. They will also be available to answer community members’ questions throughout the building process.
Additionally, Fisher said the Prewitts will compile a history of the construction of the temple for the LDS church.
“I think everybody is excited to see it under construction,” Fisher said. “And we’re all looking forward to the day it will be done.”