Memories of ISC - Written by W. Dea Montague
• In 1967, I was courting Marcia Lindblom and made my
first visit to Mesa in June. Her father, Jim Lindblom
invited me to join the Mesa 9th Ward softball team for a
game at the ISC. I was impressed that the Church had
such a nice facility and really enjoyed participating.
• After marrying Marcia, we moved here in 1968, and like
so many others, enjoyed playing with the Mesa 8th Ward
Basketball team at the ISC. Having three games at a time
was a first for me, and I marveled at the size and
utility of the facility.
• The Maricopa Stake held conferences and a variety of
activities at the ISC. Every December in the late
1960’s, President Harold Wright and the Stake presidency
would host the Annual Christmas Dinner and Program in
the auditorium and all Stake leaders were invited. As a
counselor in the Elder’s Quorum presidency, We were
invited in 1969. Before that time I was only aware of
the gymnasium. Again I was impressed with the magnitude
and flexibility of this great facility.
• Some time in the early 1970’s I was invited to help at
the ISC as children were brought from various
Reservations to participate in the Indian Student
Placement Program. My memory is that many volunteers
helped with the process of receiving the children,
making sure that they were medically and physically able
to begin their school year, feeding them a meal and
matching them to their assigned families. This seemed to
happen during the days over a relatively short time at
the beginning of the school year.
• Another similar memory came from helping serve meals
to families who came from Mexico and South America by
bus to attend the Mesa Temple. I remember this as a
sweet experience that came through an invitation from
Darl and Erma Andersen, members of our Ward who were
Temple Ordinance Workers for Spanish speaking patrons.
• A most memorable ISC Stake Conference of the Maricopa
Stake came in April, 1976, when I was sustained as
President of the Stake, succeeding J. LaMar Shelley.
Because the ISC lacked a cooling system and the sound
system was not fully adequate, most conferences were not
held there. Sometimes we would rent the Westwood High
School auditorium or do split sessions for conference;
however, in 1979, we made some major changes to our
boundaries within the Stake and held the meeting at the
ISC because all of those affected could gather together.
It was an emotional and spiritual time as major changes
were proposed and sustained.
• In 1979-1981, I served as the Boy Scouts of America,
Mesa District Chairman. During some of that time we had
our monthly District Commissioner’s meetings and the
Round Table training meetings at the ISC. It was
centrally located and had a lot of room for us to divide
into smaller groups. The Scout Council also used the ISC
for the annual Scout-O-Rama, a huge show and tell event
that used the entire building and attached fields for
displays and activities!
• In 1986, upon my release as Stake President, I became
a member of the Temple Christmas Lights committee and
learned that the auditorium was used for storing,
preparing and repairing many of the Lights and other
decorations. Along with hundreds of other volunteers, I
helped replace bulbs and strings of lights. Wow, what a
magnificent project that was facilitated and staged from
• In 1987, I became the Assistant Chairman (to Craig
Cardon) of the Easter Pageant, and served as the
Chairman from 1988-1992. Of course, the ISC was a very
integral part of the pageant. Costumes were created,
repaired and stored there. I remember going in to the
sewing room where many women were busy creating such
beautiful costumes and where the actors would come to be
fitted for their exact part. It was magnificent!
• In April 1992, I was called as one of the Regional
Representatives and given the assignment to oversee
Church Sports in Arizona. The Mesa South Stake was the
Agent Stake for the Inter- Stake Center and for
Ellsworth Park. For many years the Church and the City
of Mesa had worked under a very cooperative joint-use
agreement for the Softball fields. In addition to the
main field with bleachers at the SE corner of the
property, the Church built three more fields along the
north edge of the acreage. Two were designated for girls
and women, the main field was for adult men and Coed
teams, and the NE field was mostly used by the older
Young Men. The City provided and paid for the lights and
also did the irrigation, grooming and preparing of the
fields for play, including striping the fields. Under
this arrangement, the City leagues played on Mondays,
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The Church used all
fields on Wednesday and Saturday. This arrangement was
reaffirmed in the early 1990’s and continued for 10
years. It was a great benefit to both entities. In 2004,
it was time to renew the “lease” and the City had some
new directors negotiating, and the Church Headquarters
in Salt Lake City wanted to have more involvement.
President Milton Turley of the Mesa South Stake asked me
to negotiate, but cautioned me not to do such a good job
that the City withdrew and we got it all to our own use.
We were able to reach agreement on the same terms as had
been in place for nearly 20 years and I prepared a
simple document to memorialize the deal. Unfortunately,
the Church Real Estate department inserted themselves
into the process and returned a multi page contract with
a lot of “wherefore’s” and “whereas’s” included, placing
more requirements and restrictions on the City than the
City was willing to accept and the City totally withdrew
from the joint-use of the parks and fields.
• In 1992 or 1993, Elder Mack Lawrence, our Area
President, brought a discussion forward about the
ownership and use of the ISC. Some members of the Area
Council proposed that the Church divest itself of the
facility and give it to the Mesa Public Schools or the
City. He asked for my opinion and passionately
encouraged him to recommend that the Church keep the
facility because if we lost it, there would never be a
replacement of such a venerable and historical facility.
I also recommended that the gymnasium needed a cooling
system that would allow it to be used throughout the
year. Large floor fans were the only relief at the time.
He agreed with my recommendations, although felt that
the cost of a refrigerated air system was too expensive,
so several large evaporative coolers were installed. It
was a great blessing. I knew that it was working when
one day during a June Volleyball Tournament, a lady said
that it was too cold for her and she had to go outside
• In 1994, many of our Area Young Women were
participating in Club Volleyball. A problem arose when
their tournaments began being scheduled on Sundays
because there were not enough gyms available for
non-Sunday play. I approached Elder Lawrence and
received permission to offer the ISC for tournaments on
Selected Fridays and Saturdays if the organization would
not play on Sunday. With four courts at a time, it
proved to be a wonderful alternative for avoiding
Sunday’s and continued for many years.
• After my release as a Regional Representative in 1995,
President Turley asked if I would assist Brother Steve
Smith in scheduling the ISC. I did this for another 10
years until 2005 (when we left for our 3-year mission to
Colorado). We scheduled Volleyball for participating
Stakes in the Fall and Spring, and had basketball for
Men and Young Men during the Winter. Softball took place
throughout the year. There were 10-15 Stakes that
participated. An example of the popularity is that
during basketball season, there would be 108 games per
week scheduled on the three courts in the gym. Each
court would have four games per evening, and there were
5 3-hour sessions on Saturday.
• In 2001, I was serving as the Maricopa Stake Young Men
President. A Dance Festival was proposed for our Stake
and we scheduled it for the ISC. This was a wonderful
experience and was attended by hundreds of people who
enjoyed the unique facility and the participants (some
secretly) enjoyed this new experience.
• Also, in 2004, we had another Dance Festival for five
West Mesa Stakes that attended Westwood High School.
Although it was held at the Westwood football field,
rehearsals for the Priests and Laurels were at the ISC.
This was a happy time that allowed great social
interaction as friendships were strengthened.