|September 14, 2012 - Stephanie Brewer Cook used to dread going to the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum for meetings and events, but now it's no longer a worry.
"It's great to be able to go right in to the building without having to cross the street," Cook says. "Now that we have an accessible-parking-only lot adjacent to the plaza and brand-new access from Garage C things are so much easier. It only took some planning and a little time."
Cook, who uses a wheelchair, is the ADA Coordinator for the City of Knoxville. Thanks to her insight, and a little partnership, the Coliseum underwent several design changes to improve access. Now, the Coliseum is the host site for the first "East Tennessee Accessibility" event to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21st.
The event will showcase how to create access for people with disabilities through design, products and construction. It will also address the kinds of changes designers and developers must focus on now to accommodate an aging population, many of whom will experience disabling conditions. It is estimated that 56 million Americans have some type of disability, and an aging population will make accessible housing a priority in the future.
The Coliseum is the ideal place for the event because it is a more ADA-friendly building than it was several years ago. Accessible parking, restrooms and elevators have been added, giving customers like Cook access to the building without trouble.
Innovative products, experiential areas, presentations and demonstrations will show that accessibility is beneficial - to people with and without disabilities - and affordable. Designers, builders, contractors and the public at-large are encouraged to attend.
The East Tennessee Accessibility Event is presented by Construction Specifications Institute in partnership with the City of Knoxville. Continuing Education Units (CEU) will be offered.