As the membership of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has expanded and multiplied on a worldwide basis, the growing pains have nowhere been more evident than at the headquarters of the Church in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The administrative departments and agencies of the Church have so grown in size and in number that Church offices are presently operating out of thirteen different buildings in Salt Lake City.
That picture will change somewhat in July 1972 with completion of the thirty-story Church Administration Building. Pictures with this article indicate the progress on this important building.
Various departments now spread over the city will be gathered under one roof in this central accommodation. Exceptions will be the Relief Society, which will maintain its own building on the northwest corner of the block, and offices of the General Authorities which will continue to function from the present administration building at 47 East South Temple Street.
In 1917, when the present administration building was ready for occupancy, there were 488,046 members of the Church. Now fifty-four years later, membership has risen to nearly three million. To meet the challenge of serving this rapidly growing church, the First Presidency announced in 1960 that a new administration building would be constructed. The first contracts on the building itself were let and construction began in August 1969. George Cannon Young, Salt Lake architect, designed the building to meet the present and future needs of the Church.
Some of these needs include three levels of underground parking to accommodate 1,300 automobiles (this was completed in 1965), a cafeteria to seat 750 people, and twenty-five floors of office space. The twenty-sixth floor will feature a reception area and private dining rooms. Other floors include reserve office space and mechanical and elevator equipment areas. In addition, two four-story wings are being built to the east and west of the high-rise section. The east wing will accommodate the Church Historian’s offices, reference library, and a 350-seat auditorium; the west wing will house the Genealogical Society, which will also occupy four floors of the high-rise section.
On the exterior, columns of white quartzite cast stone are rapidly being mounted on the steel frame of the high-rise section. There will be entrances to the building on both north and south ends, with the main entrance to the south, facing a landscaped plaza between the new building and the present administration building. Architecturally, the beautiful new structure should be a tourist attraction, as gigantic precast stone maps of the world, standing out in bold relief on both north and south sides of each wing, proclaim a worldwide church.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations. …” (Matt. 24:14.)