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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was honored for its efforts to make the state more disaster resilient.
At a ceremony at the Utah governor’s mansion, May 23, 2019, Governor Gary R. Herbert presented “Your Utah, Your Future” awards to eight local organizations, including the Church, for their work to improve life in Utah and to deal with various challenges.
The awards were sponsored by Envision Utah, a nonprofit organization focused on helping maintain a high quality of life in Utah as the state grows.
“The people and the projects we’re honoring are part of what drives Utah’s success,” said Governor Herbert in a news release. “They embody a uniquely Utah approach to addressing challenges, and they present solutions in innovative, collaborative ways. The more projects we have like these the better off Utah will be — now and in the future.”
“Utah faces a huge risk of a major earthquake, and much of the state is underprepared,” said Robert Grow, CEO of Envision Utah. “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, however, has taken the initiative to dedicate countless hours and tremendous resources to ensure its historic buildings and institutions are ready for a major earthquake. It is leading the way to [Utah] becoming truly resilient.”
Grow added that the Church’s long-term vision and strategic planning are critical to protecting not just Church properties but also other elements of Utah history.
Bill Williams, director of temple design for the Church’s Special Projects Department, attended the ceremony and accepted the disaster resilience award on behalf of the Church.
“Whenever the Church undertakes a major renovation, we work to seismically upgrade the building and make it as safe, efficient and sustainable as possible,” said Williams. “We also seek to achieve the highest level of safety, efficiency and sustainability in all new construction.”
One recent example of the Church’s efforts to strengthen its buildings against disaster involves the iconic Salt Lake Temple. Church President Russell M. Nelson announced plans to close the temple for four years beginning December 29, 2019, for a renovation and major seismic upgrade using a base isolation system.
This week, Church officials also announced plans to renovate the St. George Utah Temple. That project will include a limited seismic upgrade.
Grow also paid tribute to the Church’s “tremendous efforts to have energy-efficient and LEED certifiedbuildings that produce less air pollution” as critical to helping people in Utah have a brighter future.Other honorees at the ceremony included the Holladay Village Center, Grand County High Density Housing Overlay Ordinance and the Salt Lake City School District Peer Assistance Review Program.