This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Come 2013, tens of thousands of Mormon missionaries will pass through a new building at the Missionary Training Center in Provo.
The LDS Church announced plans Wednesday to construct a state-of-the-art facility at the MTC, located near Brigham Young University.
The new building will replace the Melvin J. Ballard Building, which houses the MTC's bookstore, mailroom, meeting rooms and training resource center.
It also will be several floors taller than the two-story Ballard building, according to a news release from the Salt Lake City-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and will include classrooms with the latest technological resources.
LDS Church spokesman Scott Trotter said the Ballard building needed an upgrade, and church officials determined that a new facility would be a better option.
The Ballard building will be demolished in 2012, with its replacement slated for completion in 2013. During construction, the mailroom and bookstore will permanently move to the Jacob Hamblin Building's east wing, which is in the final stages of construction.
The church's statement said the construction should not affect the surrounding neighborhood, because the Ballard building is at the center of the MTC campus. (That building is named for Melvin J. Ballard, an LDS apostle who opened South America to Mormon missionaries in 1926.)
About 24,000 Mormon missionaries pass through the Provo training center every year to learn foreign languages and how to teach the LDS message before they embark on proselytizing stints in more than 120 countries across the globe.
There are 14 other LDS missionary training centers in the world, but Provo's is the largest, handling 80 percent of the load.
McKenzie Romero, a Southern Utah University student who went through the Provo MTC in 2009 for a mission to Guatemala, said the new building will be a welcome change.
"I only spent three weeks in the Provo [training center], and then I went to the [training center] in Guatemala," Romero said. "When I went there, I was surprised the … facilities were nicer [than in Provo]. Provo is really like being in an old college dorm."
Romero said her classroom wasn't necessarily crowded, but it was full with eight to 10 people most of the day.
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Missionary and MTC figures
52,483 • Number of full-time Mormon missionaries
24,000 • Number of missionaries at Provo MTC in a year
2,700 • Average number of missionaries at Provo's MTC at any one time
340 • Number of LDS missions worldwide
80 • Percentage of missionaries trained at Provo's MTC, the faith's largest
15 • Number of MTCs worldwide