PROVO – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is showing off its newly expanded Missionary Training Center. Church officials say they’ve added 350 thousand square feet, and can house and teach 3,700 missionaries at any given time, which is one thousand more than before.
Director of Missionary Training Centers, Kelly Mills, says they wanted to make the classrooms feel less constrictive than before. He says, “One of the biggest changes is the size of them. [They] have almost twice as many square feet. Another significant piece is that the walls are almost all glass on one side.” He says this brings in a lot more natural light to provide a more open feeling. Plus, they’ve added artwork specifically made for the new MTC.
Why so much more space? Missionary Department Managing Director Gary Crittenden says the open feeling makes teaching easier for the instructors. “We’ve learned a lot more about how people learn, and, much of what has been incorporated here reflects our best understanding of the kind of environment you need to create to let people learn,” Crittenden says.
The LDS Church saw a major spike in the number of missionaries ever since the age requirements were lowered. Young Women’s President Bonnie Oscarson says the spike has been especially noticeable among women, and that serving a mission fits better into their lives now. She says, “[The number of sisters] is up to 20-27 percent of our missionary force, right now.”
What will happen to the old buildings? Church officials say they’ll eventually be torn down for newer and more open facilities, but, no timeline has been set for that.
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