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Temple View restoration is proceeding to plan

Kim Stewart Dec 12
Temple View restoration is proceeding to plan
Temple View is sited on the outskirts of Hamilton.

For 61 years the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) temple has stood proudly on a hill overlooking the settlement of Temple View on the outskirts of Hamilton.

Completed over a three year period following a ground breaking ceremony in December 1955 the three-storey temple was dedicated and operational in April 1958 to the delight of the faithful missionaries who had gifted thousands of hours working voluntarily on the site to see the first temple in the southern hemisphere brought to life and to members of the faith throughout New Zealand and the Pacific.

Since July 2018, the wooden and concrete block temple has ceased to operate, while it undergoes a significant restoration of its structure and total refurbishment inside. Project Manager Oscar Lawrence says the major project is proceeding well and according to schedule.

“I think it’s due to all the careful thought and planning that has gone into structuring the various phases of the work to be undertaken that has underpinned the success of the build to date.”

Shrouded in major scaffolding the temple’s exterior has been stripped back in order to access critical spaces for seismic strengthening materials to be added, while inside a new suite of services and complete new fit-out will modernise and future-proof the interior. Correct management of asbestos removal has also been a critical element of the project.

The work is being undertaken by American construction company Westland and Oscar says if the build continues to go as well as it has that the expected rededication and opening of the temple will take place in the second quarter of 2021. The history of building the Temple is fascinating.

During a visit by the church’s then President, David O McKay, in January 1955, the hill site adjacent to Church College, was seen as a desirable place to erect a temple.

When an opportunity to purchase the hill site occurred, the Church seized it with future construction of the temple officially announced in February 1955.

Built from timber, processed at its own timber-mill and constructed from thousands of concrete blocks, produced from its own concrete block plant on site, the temple was funded through gifting by church members. Utmost care was taken in all aspects of its design and construction.

The temple’s design was based on a reworking of the design of the Bern, Switzerland temple, but with a more modern take.Oscar says contributing to the successful build has been a very cooperative and supportive Hamilton City Council.

“Consenting processes have been managed positively resulting in a smooth and uninterrupted work schedule running according to plan.

“My main role now that the work is well under-way is just to foresee and manage issues that may impact on the building schedule,” says Oscar who returned from nine years in Brisbane to take up the project management role.The temple refurbishment is just one of several developments taking place at Temple View.

Opposite the temple, the historic visitors centre has closed and will be developed into living quarters, while behind the temple old accommodation blocks have been demolished, with three new blocks and a visitor welcoming area to be built.

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