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Knoxville Convention Center upgrades facility with nursing mother’s room, family restroom

August 4, 2015

August 4, 2015

For additional information,
Contact: Amanda Shell Jennings
Moxley Carmichael
(865) 255-0661

Nursing Mother's Room Ribbon-cutting

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, elected officials, Knoxville Convention Center staff and representatives of the breastfeeding support community cut the ribbon on the new nursing mother’s room at the Convention Center on Aug. 4. Pictured from left: City Councilman Finbarr Saunders; Rogero; Robin Penegar, Knox County Health Department breastfeeding coordinator; Sherri Hedberg, chair of the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition; Kristin Williams, director, Breastfeeding Center at Lisa Ross; Jessica Bocangel, director of Bridges & Mentoring for the Compassion Coalition, whose Facebook inquiry regarding breastfeeding accommodations began the conversation about the need for a nursing mother’s room; and Mary Bogert, general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center.

Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero and Knoxville Convention Center leadership cut the ribbon today on family-friendly upgrades to the facility, which include a nursing mother’s room and family restroom.

“These resources will be key to making new mothers and families with young children or with special needs more comfortable at our facility,” said Mary Bogert, general manager of the Knoxville Convention Center.

The private nursing mother’s room will be used by new mothers attending conferences and other events at the facility. The room will include a private, calm environment for breastfeeding or pumping milk and includes a comfortable chair, table, counter with electrical outlet and changing table.

The Knoxville Convention Center has always made available to guests a private room upon request, but the new nursing mother’s room will now be publicly designated with signage and equipped for nursing mothers. The Knoxville Convention Center provides a separate room in its administrative offices for employees who are nursing mothers.

The upgrades also will include a family restroom with sink and changing station built to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Family restrooms allows space for wheelchairs or wide strollers and will benefit families with young children or individuals with disabilities or health conditions.

During the unveiling of the new rooms, Rogero emphasized the importance of supporting families, especially new mothers.

“I applaud the Convention Center for taking steps to make this facility more accessible to all guests,” Rogero said. “Introducing the nursing mother’s room is especially fitting during World Breastfeeding Week. Unfortunately, Tennessee ranks near the bottom of states that offer support for breastfeeding. Through initiatives like this, we can encourage our community and our state to better help new mothers.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) releases an annual report on breastfeeding, and Tennessee is tied for the third least supportive state for breastfeeding based on a series of support indicators measured by the CDC.  Tennessee also is below the national average on the number of babies that have been breastfed at any point and those who are still breastfeeding at six months.

During Knox County’s World Breastfeeding Week event, the Knoxville Convention Center received the 2015 Marcie Singleton Award from the East Tennessee Breastfeeding Coalition for the nursing mother’s room, as well as for promoting a breastfeeding friendly environment for guests and employees at the center.

About the Knoxville Convention Center

The Knoxville Convention Center, managed by SMG, is located in downtown Knoxville adjacent to the Sunsphere. It boasts a 120,000-square-foot exhibit hall, a 30,000-square-foot divisible ballroom and 18 meeting rooms. For more information, visit

About SMG

Founded in 1977, SMG provides management services to more than 230 public assembly facilities including convention and exhibition centers, arenas, stadiums, theatres, performing arts centers, equestrian facilities, science centers, and a variety of other venues. With facilities across the globe, SMG manages more than 15 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. SMG also offers food and beverage operations through its concessions, catering and special events division, SAVOR, currently servicing 130 accounts worldwide. For more information visit