Iowa Events Center Earns Sensory Inclusive™ Certification
Monday | Oct. 11, 2021
The Iowa Events Center is raisising awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory needs.
The Iowa Events Center, which is comprised of Hy-Vee Hall, Community Choice Convention Center and Wells Fargo Arena, has officially been certified as a sensory-inclusive venue through KultureCity! The facility joins many professional stadiums, arenas, convention centers and fellow Spectra properties in the effort to bring live and inclusive events to all.
Director of Events, Haleigh Biancalana, first sparked the conversation and discovered the need for the Iowa Events Center to be more inclusive and raise awareness of the needs and challenges faced by individuals with sensory needs. Read on to learn how the Iowa Event Center became Sensory Inclusive™ certified.
“We want to be able to host everyone, regardless of their disability or challenge, and earning the KultureCity certification is a great place to start. We are excited to be the first live entertainment/event facility of our kind to be certified in the State of Iowa!”
Haleigh Biancalana, Director of Events
Why was it important to the Iowa Events Center to earn this certification?
We are all about the guest experience here at the Iowa Events Center. Our goal is to find ways to make all guests feel welcome and comfortable in our facility. The idea that there are kids, guests, and fans that haven’t been able to attend an event due to not having the resources if they become sensory overloaded was eye-opening! We want to be able to host everyone, regardless of their disability or challenge, and earning the KultureCity certification is a great place to start. We are excited to be the first live entertainment/event facility of our kind to be certified in the State of Iowa!
KultureCity is an organization that is in many different cities and states. They are in a variety of different types of facilities such as zoos, museums, arenas, and more. KultureCity has been making a splash in the live entertainment industry by being incorporated into major league arenas/stadiums, NBA Finals, music festivals such as Lolapalooza, and much, much more.
Describe the certification process. What have you done up to this point?
The certification process has a couple of phases. The first phase involves education. Our staff was required to take training courses through KultureCity. This training discussed such things as what is sensory overload? What does it look like when someone is having an episode? How can you help? Once our staff was trained and passed the course, we moved on to the next phase of adding the signage around the facility. You’ll notice the signage at all our entrances and throughout the different areas in the facility noting places such as quiet zones and headphone zones. The next phase was building our social profile which involved taking a lot of pictures of our facility and the signage. All of these were uploaded to our profile within the KultureCity app where someone could go and find all the needed information for planning a trip to our facility. Once that phase was completed, we were official!
What has been the biggest takeaway for you?
There was a lot of time and effort that went into this certification process, but I am so excited to continue to create an inclusive environment here at the IEC. We truly want to be a place where everyone can come to enjoy their favorite concert or basketball game or conference and we now have the training and certifications to back that up. I can’t wait to welcome new guests to our building!
What’s next for Iowa Events Center?
The biggest thing is going to be continued training. I want to continue to create an environment for our staff that allows for them to have the proper tools and resources to help anyone who walks through our doors. Equipping our staff with more education can only make their experience and the guest experience greater.