Sunsphere Welcome Center Construction Underway

The Sunsphere's new Welcome Center is expected to complete by the end of 2024.

Visit Knoxville announced on March 20, 2024, the commencement of construction for the new Sunsphere Welcome Center, marking the beginning of Phase II in the series of updates aimed at enhancing the iconic structure. This follows the completion of Phase I on November 17, 2023, which saw the Sunsphere painted back to its original PANTONE® color Classic Blue 19-4052 TCX, a project undertaken by CertaPro Painters in collaboration with the City of Knoxville, the Public Building Authority, and Knox County.

The Welcome Center, to be located on the third-floor level (street level on Clinch Avenue) of the Sunsphere, will offer an enclosed space featuring staffed ticketing, expanded retail options, brochures, and information, all overlooking World’s Fair Park. The project is slated for completion by the end of 2024.

Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville, expressed excitement about providing an elevated experience for both visitors and locals through the new Welcome Center. Indya Kincannon, the City of Knoxville Mayor, also highlighted the significance of the renovations in maintaining the Sunsphere’s iconic status and the collaborative effort involved in realizing this vision.

A notable feature of the Welcome Center will be its entrance canopy, equipped with a solar array facing the Knoxville Convention Center, symbolizing the theme of the 1982 World’s Fair: “Energy Turns the World”. The interior will boast a panorama of windows and a unique skylight feature allowing visitors to view the outline of the sphere from below.

The Sunsphere will remain open during the construction, with closures announced as necessary on The renovation will introduce a new roof on the third-floor level and a playful paint treatment on the exterior brick, emulating the colors of a Rubik’s Cube.

The project involves key partnerships, including the East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC), McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects (MHM), Haines Structural Group, Engineering Services Group, Inc., and The Christman Company, the latter of which previously contributed to the original construction of the Sunsphere.

The renovations are funded through the Sunsphere Fund, established by Visit Knoxville with support from Knox County and the City of Knoxville in 2019, aimed at preserving and enhancing the structure for future generations. A timelapse of the Sunsphere’s transformation is available for viewing at

Updates on the Sunsphere Welcome Center’s progress can be followed on the Sunsphere’s official Facebook and Instagram pages.

Source: Read Original Release

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