040721-New Temple 1-CPT

Christopher Tomlinson/The Daily Sentinel

The lot on the southeast corner of 12th Street and Horizon Drive will be home to a new temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, serving the Grand Valley. Members currently drive 160 miles one-way for temple worship in Monticello, Utah.

The dirt and desert brush on the southeast side of the roundabout at Horizon Drive and 12th Street are about to get a major makeover.

The 6.94 acres was confirmed as the site of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ temple to be built in Grand Junction, according to a Wednesday announcement by the church. The property was purchased in 2019 for $2.25 million, according to city records, and was speculated as the site for a temple when the church first announced on Easter Sunday that one would be built in Grand Junction.

The new single-story temple will be 25,000 square feet and it will be the third temple in Colorado — there are temples in Denver and Fort Collins.

“It’s exciting to know where it will be,” said Craig Stagg, president of the Grand Junction Colorado West Stake, one of two districts in the Grand Valley. “We’re excited for it to happen.”

The location, which likely will allow the temple to be seen from Interstate 70, will provide easy access for members coming to the temple from out of town for temple worship, Stagg said.

Those members may come from as far east as Vail and as far south as Montrose, he speculated.

There are about 9,000 Latter-day Saints members in the Grand Valley and more than 20,000 on the Western Slope, according to Stagg.

“It does make easy access for us, and the temples bring members from all over the world,” said Paige Storheim, director of communications for the church’s Denver Colorado Southwest Slope area.

Those members from across the nation and around the globe will be welcome, but local church members are most looking forward to having a shorter drive for temple worship. Members currently drive 160 miles one-way to the temple in Monticello, Utah, Stagg said.

That temple is 11,225 square feet, so the Grand Junction temple will be more than twice its size, he said.

In the coming months, both Stagg and Storheim expect the church to release an artist’s rendering of the new temple and to set a date for groundbreaking.

For information about Latter-day Saints’ temples, go to churchofjesuschristtemples.org.