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Greater Columbus Convention Center Becomes First Convention Center to Become KultureCity Certified Sensory Inclusive Facility
The SMG-managed Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) has become the first convention center in the world to become Certified Sensory Inclusive through KultureCity.
The GCCC collaborated with KultureCity to improve the capabilities of the facility and staff to accommodate guests with sensory processing challenges and provide an inclusive, seamless and enjoyable experience for them at the GCCC.
“We are proud to be at the forefront of many innovative programs, and making all of our guests feel welcome, safe and accommodated is at the top of the list,” said GCCC Director of Culture & Training Amy Huggins. “We are especially proud to partner with KultureCity to receive additional training and resources to become a better host to our guests with special sensory needs.”
The certification process involved the GCCC staff being trained by medical professionals on how to recognize guests with sensory needs and handle sensory-overload situations. GCCC associates successfully completing the training and online quiz were awarded certificates.
Sensory sensitive and sensory regulation challenges are most often experienced by those with autism, dementia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and similar health concerns affected by overstimulation and noise.
The GCCC is now equipped with Sensory Bags guests can borrow when presenting a valid photo identification card in exchange. The bags are equipped with special KultureCity VIP identification badges for guests to wear, noise-canceling headphones, fidget tools, verbal cue cards and weighted lap pads to comfort guests that may be overwhelmed by the busy environment. The bags are available at the two GCCC Guest Service Centers, located within the South Cafe & Marketplace and across from Exhibit Hall A. Guests also have access to quiet zones for additional solace.
To prepare for their visit, guests can download the free KultureCity mobile app to view the sensory features available at the GCCC and the social story providing a preview of what they can expect when they arrive at the venue.
“To know that families will be able to attend events at the GCCC with their loved ones with sensory challenges is truly a heartwarming moment,” said Dr. Julian Maha, co-founder of KultureCity. “Our communities are what shape our lives, and to know that the GCCC is willing to go the extra mile to ensure that everyone, no matter their ability, is included in their community is amazing.”
Based in Birmingham, Alabama, KultureCity is a leading non-profit organization recognized nationally for using its resources to revolutionize and effect change in the community for those with sensory needs. Since the program’s inception, KultureCity has created more than 300 sensory inclusive venues in four countries and during events including the National Football League’s Super Bowl and Pro Bowl and the Major League Baseball All-Star Weekend. The award-winning company was named by FastCompany as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies in 2019.
The Greater Columbus Convention Center is located in downtown Columbus and owned by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and managed by SMG. The $140 million expansion and renovation of the facility was completed in July 2017.
Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to 246 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theaters, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 19 million square feet of exhibition space and more than 1.5 million sports and entertainment seats. As the recognized global industry leader, SMG provides venue management, sales, marketing, event booking and programming, construction and design consulting, and pre-opening services for such landmark facilities as McCormick Place & Soldier Field in Chicago, Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, Houston’s NRG Park and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions and catering companies, currently serving more than 140 accounts worldwide.
Visit www.columbusconventions.com and www.smgworld.com for more information.
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