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Expanding MTC forcing BYU students out of apartments

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Posted at 8:55 PM, Mar 28, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-29 00:49:32-04

PROVO, Utah - Hundreds of students living in Brigham Young University off-campus housing are being forced to move as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints expands its Missionary Training Center.

There are around 900 people living in the Raintree Commons apartment complex, located at 1849 North and 200 West in Provo.

Within the last 24 hours, they've all been notified that they'll need to be out in one month because the LDS Church plans to transform the property into a fully functioning missionary training center independent of the main MTC location nearby.

"We sent an email to all of our residents to let them know and also posted notices on their doors last night, and then today we've been informing all those who signed future leases," said Shelly Freeman, Glenwood Intermountain Properties.

Students say the announcement comes at a bad time as they prepare to finish out their semester at school.

"I got an email yesterday saying that we need to leave at the end of April and that was a big surprise," said Tyler Hackett. "It would have been nice to know sooner, that's all."

Raintree management says they're working with displaced residents to make alternate accommodations at another complex they own nearby.

Compounding issues is the requirement that BYU students live in school-approved housing, but BYU officials say there is plenty of other housing available for students.

"We will have three new residence halls that will be available to students by fall semester," said Carri Jenkins, BYU spokesperson. "It will hold close to 700 students."

The LDS Church is expanding to accommodate a surge of new missionaries coming after the missionary age requirements were lowered. The Church says new missionary applications went from 700 per week to 4,000 per week and the MTC in Provo doesn't have room to accommodate all the new missionaries.

Raintree Commons management says the LDS Church leased their property for a period of one year and four months with an option to extend that lease.

The LDS Church is also looking at other options; they'd been looking at plans to expand Provo's MTC before the age requirement change announcement was made.