POCATELLO — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has announced the city’s forthcoming temple will be located on a 13-acre lot high up the East Bench, in the vicinity of Highland High School.
The LDS church owns the property, which is located east of Satterfield Drive and Butte Street, adjacent to an existing LDS stake center. The temple will be part of a new subdivision, called Crestview Estates — Division 2.
In a Thursday afternoon press release, the LDS church also unveiled a rendering of the planned three-story temple, featuring a “classic” design with a center spire.
Construction is expected to begin in 2019 and should take two to three years to complete.
Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad said there were four locations he thought the church would consider. In addition to the site the church ultimately chose, he saw promise in a site in northwest Pocatello, one within the planned Northgate development just north of the selected location, and at the church’s farm to the south, along Bannock Highway.
“They owned the land already, and it seems like the temples typically are on top of a hill, where you can see them and they are visible from all over,” Blad said regarding the benefits of the chosen site.
“Where this location is you can see it north and south, and you can see it west as you come in on Interstate 86.”
On a personal note, Blad is a church member, and having a local temple will save him long drives to surrounding communities. Blad said the city will have to keep a close eye on the temple’s affect on traffic patterns, but the announcement is good news for both residents and the economy.
“Anywhere they have built a temple historically, you see an uptick in the economy,” Blad said.
The church announced plans to build a Pocatello temple in April 2017, but didn’t divulge details such as the location and design.
Larry Fisher, the church’s director of public affairs for the Pocatello and Chubbuck area, said the First Presidency of the LDS Church makes decisions about each temple and considers several sites.
“I think it’s a wonderful spot myself,” Fisher said. “It’s a wonderful neighborhood, and it’s got great visibility from the interstate.”
Fisher said church members in the Pocatello area have waited a long time for a temple, and he was surprised when the church announced plans to build here, given that new temples have been built in surrounding communities such as Idaho Falls, Rexburg and Twin Falls.
Temples are kept open throughout the week and are closed on Sundays. Just before the temple is dedicated and blessed, general members of the community will be invited to tour it, said Cameron Brower, stake president for Chubbuck. After the dedication, only those with temple recommends — members who are current on tithing and follow the church’s teachings — will be allowed access. Temples host ceremonies such as weddings, where couples undergo the sealing ordinance that binds families together for eternity, Brower explained.
“The Latter-day Saints temples are considered a house of God — a place Latter-day Saints can go and worship God and also make formal promises and commitments to God,” Brower said.
Brower said young LDS members often plan date nights around going to the temple, also taking time to shop and dine within the community.
“We do expect this to be a blessing to the community economically, and in many other ways,” Brower said.