Forklifts and tractors have occupied the Laie Temple grounds as construction workers are working to beautify the temple landscape and improve safety to visitors. Construction began about three weeks ago and is estimated to end in early January.
The front courtyard and fountain area are the main focus of the landscaping efforts, although neither is visible now within the chain link fence surrounding the site. Both have been removed, while what remains of the foremost shrubbery sits in a dirt lot dotted with orange vests, tractors, and piles of rubble.
Sister Priday, a missionary at the Temple Visitors’ Center said, “I don’t think they would have redone this if it hadn’t been for the safety issues—the tiles were wobbly and they were concerned somebody was going to trip on them.”
Priday went on to say that tiles at other public areas were loose as well, and cited a freak accident that occurred earlier this month in London. The Chicago Tribune also reported that Sara Bean of Chicago was walking under the Second
Presbyterian Church when part of a gargoyle came loose in the wind and hit her on the head, killing her almost instantly.
Sister Priday was comforted by the fact that with new and safer landscaping, there will be fewer chances for accident on the future temple grounds.
However, Elder Priday, Sister Priday’s companion, explained that the renovations are for beautification as well. In presenting a general vision of the finished product Priday said, “It’ll be basically the same size, but they had to redo the fountain
According to Elder Priday there will be one fountain with three main water features. Other than that, nothing about the landscaping will be very different.
Jance Westall, freshman in accounting from Idaho, said, “I’ve seen all the stuff going on when I walk past on my way to campus. It will be exciting to see what the grounds look like when they get done in January.” Westall added that he didn’t get to see the temple before the work started but is looking forward to going anyway.
Elder and Sister Priday gave community members and students a message of welcome and said that despite the screech of tractors and the piles of dirt, the temple is still open during its normal hours.