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Territorial Dispatch

Temple Construction Manager Benefits from Community Support

Jun 15, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Cindy Scott

Adam Roberts, his wife Jessie, and their daughters enjoyed northern California for almost three years. Adam was the project manager for Okland Construction in the building of the Feather River Temple in Yuba City. Photo provided by Adam Roberts

YUBA CITY, CA (MPG) - Adam Roberts earned an appreciation of the “refiner’s fire.” As Project Manager for Okland Construction in the building of the Feather River Temple in Yuba City, he supervised the construction process of the temple building and grounds. “It was my first temple as Project Manager, and it has been way tougher than I expected.”

The temple, built by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is near completion. Roberts especially appreciated the support of “the community–how cool the community has been. Church members or not, people have been great.” He noted the City was especially efficient and helpful.

Roberts described the most difficult challenge in one word, “Covid.” Materials procurement was especially difficult, especially the interior marble stone floors and the millwork. There were also Covid challenges on site. For months, workers wore masks and had to navigate vaccine mandates. They incorporated boot sanitization pads and performed special cleanings of surfaces being touched.

Roberts also recalled rogue storms that came in during early scheduled concrete pours. They were receiving concrete pours every other week when a storm knocked them off schedule. Afterwards, they received three pours in one week, in a quarter of the time, and it put them back on schedule.

An interesting challenge arose with the placement of the Angel Moroni statue atop the temple tower. To Latter-day Saints, the Angel Moroni is not a symbol of worship, but represents preaching to the world. “The first time, we didn’t even take the statue off the truck,” Roberts explained. The finial, which needed to fit atop the ball, was off by 22.5 degrees, so it was returned for modifications. “When the statue was finally set,” Roberts shared, “it was a good, happy, memorable day.”

Completing the finish work was also challenging, “It is difficult to achieve the level of finish required by a temple.” Roberts continued, “We would do good finish work, the inspector would come, we would take it up a notch, the inspector would come again and so on,” until the work met requirements. Noting the ceilings in the instruction rooms include groin vaults with different radiuses, Roberts said that, “Watching them come together was especially rewarding.”

Roberts mentioned some of the outside features. The Church agreed to keep Constitution Grove, on the northeast corner of the site. Under the mature redwood trees is a city plaque that will be maintained. A mature California Oak on the west side of the temple was preserved and named “Bruce.” Roberts reported that, as he walked by the tree one day, he thought, “That tree looks like a Bruce,” so he and the crew began calling it Bruce. The tree was planted in the 1970’s, when the original meetinghouse was built.

The Feather River Temple incorporates elements native to the Yuba-Sutter area. Almond blossoms are integral to the art glass designs. Roberts also described an olive-tree art piece in the temple, a reproduction of an original painting in the Rome Italy Temple.

Roberts was particularly excited for the 30 olive trees, each over 100 years old, brought to the site from Corning. Ancient Olive Trees, a company that specializes in transplanting old olive trees, warned that the failure rate can be as high as 20%. Roberts reported, “We’ve only lost one tree, so it is a tender mercy.” The trees compose four orchards on the four corners of the temple.

Roberts and his wife Jessie had two daughters when they arrived in California in July 2020. While here, they added a third daughter, their “California souvenir.” They enjoyed touring northern California during their nearly three-year stay. As a self-described “outdoors family,” they visited the national and state parks, including Lassen, Yosemite, and Muir Woods. They also enjoyed boating on area lakes, including Lake Oroville.

As Roberts left the area for his next assignment, he expressed his appreciation for the community, “Thanks for all the support, I’ve felt it.”