Provo residents gathered at the Missionary Trainer Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Thursday to discuss another possible plan for an MTC expansion.
The MTC tried to build an expansion last year but didn’t go through as several residents were unhappy with how the structure would look. This time the LDS church held the meeting to get feedback and to present two possible options.
Richard Heaton, administrative director for the MTC, let everyone know why the MTC needs to expand.
“In 2011 we had 2,800 missionaries at the MTC,” Heaton said. Projections for this year are 7,800 at any given time, down to about 6,000 by 2017 and back up to 7,500 by 2025.
“Even though we have shortened the missionaries’ stay by one third, we will still have 3,000 currently here,” Heaton said. He also noted that the number of sister missionaries is more than a third of the total missionaries here; they used to make up only 18 percent.
The church presented two options: a northeast option and a south option.
The northeast option would take advantage of the huge green field across from the MTC on 900 East. They would build new housing and teaching facilities, a gym and a new auditorium.
The south option would add teaching and housing facilities to the south end of campus where there are currently BYU buildings. The housing buildings would be four stories high and the teaching buildings would be five stories. There is also talk of possibly having floors underground or even having underground parking.
Nearby Provo residents agreed on six things:
- To be able to give input.
- Keep the Pleasant View chapel
- Keep housing at four stories
- Develop taller buildings by 900 East
- Establish landscape buffers
- Preserve views to the temple and open space.
By choosing the north option it would almost give the MTC the feel of having a split campus. If the south option is chosen, BYU would have to relocate services. Based on several comments in the meeting, it seemed majority of the residents were leaning towards the south option.
After President Thomas S. Monson’s missionary announcement this past October, residents now see why the church was pushing so hard for an expansion last year. Now that the announcement has been made, residents seem more understanding as to why they need to expand.
There will be another meeting Friday night for stakeholders and neighbors. It will then go to the presiding bishopric’s office Tuesday. On Wednesday Elders Russell M. Nelson and Jeffrey Holland, along with the missionary department heads, will make recommendations. Then it will go to the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and then to the First Presidency.