Wooden temple to open in Coral Springs amid Parkland shooting anniversary events

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - A carved plywood temple that aims to help a community in mourning is about to open to the public in Coral Springs, as they prepare to once again show the world they are MSD strong.

7News cameras captured crews working on the Temple of Time, the latest structure by artists David Best, Monday afternoon.

Several weeks in the making, the wooden structure is inclusive of all religions and will remain in place for several weeks of events marking the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Parkland officials are calling this Thursday “a day of service and a day of love.” The community has set up several scheduled events that will honor the families of the victims.

Speaking with loved ones of those who lost their lives, organizers asked them what would feel good to them but wouldn’t be too intrusive on their lives. They have come up with several programs, including a moment of silence at many locations.

But the most elaborate undertaking is the construction of the Temple of Time, which is being put together by Best and a team of volunteers.

This is the 20th temple by the artist, who has built them around the world. He said he comes into a community that is in a period of mourning and builds the 35-foot temples using birch plywood.

“What I hope is that someone who’s having a hard time sleeping will be able to rest well,” said Best. “That’s all. That’s what I would hope.”

“I really like the idea,” said MSD student Logan Weber. “I think that it’s a beautiful way that you can send off how this community has – even right here you see the community working all together to build it and coming together and creating something this beautiful.”

Best acknowledged the past 12 months have not been easy for the Parkland-Coral Springs community.

“It hasn’t let up. People haven’t had a chance to grieve,” said Best.

Once it’s open to the public, Best said, mourners are encouraged to bring some sort of memento that represents their pain, like a note or picture, and leave it at the temple.

“Someone can come here at the end of the day, and when no one is around, sit down and take a breath,” said Best.

The structure will then be burned down sometime in mid-May, much like a temple Best burned in Northern Ireland to help people there cope with losses from political violence.

“This community got really divided by a whole lot of issues here,” said Best. “This is a place where your neighbors should be able to join together and sit down quietly and watch as sins disappear.”

One divisive issue is guns. On Monday, organizers with Do Something Florida turned in their first batch of signatures, a petition they hope will lead to a referendum that will ban assault rifles in Florida.

The ban would apply to military-grade weapons like the one confessed gunman Nikolas Cruz used to murder 17 people at MSD on Feb. 14, 2018.

David Hogg spoke outside of the Broward County Supervisor of Elections office.

“These weapons are used across the world by American forces in war, and it’s time to end the war in our schools. It’s time to end the war in our streets,” he said.

Meanwhile, Best hopes the war of words stops at the Temple of Time. Although the pavilion will open its doors on Thursday, no ceremonies will take place there.

Other events on Thursday include a breakfast where students will serve first responders, as well as a ceremony at Pine Trails Park in Parkland.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.