5, 2007 - Mayor Bill Haslam announced that the city would
open the fourth floor observation deck of the Sunsphere to the public
beginning Thursday, July 5.
There is no admission charge and the observation deck can be accessed
from elevators at the base of the Sunsphere and at the convention
It will be open daily from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m.
"This is something we've been looking forward to for several
months," Haslam said. "This deck provides a great 360-degree
view of the city and the surrounding countryside and we think it's
something people will really enjoy.
The development of the observation deck was part of a $1 million
renovation of the Sunsphere proposed by the mayor and approved by
city council earlier this year as part of the plan to lease the
structure to Kinsey Probasco Hays.
The money - which came from the proceeds of the sale of the Candy
Factory and Victorian Houses - was used for infrastructure improvements
ranging from lighting and heating and air conditioning work to improvements
of safety features like fire suppression systems.
Work on the fourth floor observation deck, which is more than 200
feet above World's Fair Park totaled $281,300.
It has a capacity of 86 and will be monitored by the Public Building
Mayor Haslam and members of city council cut the ribbon celebrating
the opening of the floor Tuesday evening before a reception on the
In addition to the views the deck features a dozen lighted displays
titled "The Faces of Knoxville" detailing everything from
the city's history, culture and attractions to some of its unique
neighborhoods and the University of Tennessee.
There are also four television monitors displaying a variety of
presentations including one on World's Fair Park.
One panel points out that from the windows of the Sunsphere a viewer
can see the locations where Knoxville's history played out including
where both the city and the State of Tennessee were born; where
the Treaty of the Holston was signed with the Cherokee Nation; where
the Civil War battle of Fort Sanders was fought and where millions
visited the World's Fair 25 years ago.