b'important partner for the Hilton. conventions that fill up hotel roomsthe flexibility of the space means This puts us in the market to at- and expose visitors to the Peacefulthis facility will be a jewel in Blount tract Association groups that needSide of the Smokies, and as a localCounty for many years to come.larger spaces and more meetingvenue. It gives us a larger venue toA new website makes it easy for rooms than we had previously,plan future local events. The state- those looking for space to see what says Fry. The fact that we are con- of-the-art technology they havethis area has to offer: nected to McGhee Tyson Airport isincorporated into the venue andwww.smokymountainmeetings.org.such a plus for us and the commu-nity. An airport hotel is something large groups and associations look for, and there arent that many with this kind of space out there.In addition, local nonprofits that rely on the Hilton for event space will now have the opportunity to grow. Some of our most faithful nonprofits were having to limit the number of tickets they could sell and the types of events they could do because of space availability, says Fry. This new expansion will benefit them as well.Two other perhaps smaller details bring a smile to the sales directors face. We can now have more than one thing at the hotel at a time. Before, if we scheduled a wedding, that date was blocked out for any-thing else. Now, we can accommo-date more than one event. And, our pool area, which at times was brought into use for event space, is now just an indoor pool for our guests to use.The partnership that helped make the renovation a reality made sense, says Fry. It was a perfect combination with the hotel, the MKAA and the chamber. The ability to bring larger groups into the hotel benefits surrounding businesses and the entire community. The airport has been a great help, es-pecially during our construction. As we attract larger groups, it benefitsPellissippi State offers associate degrees in career programs, transfer pathways to the airport as well. four-year institutions, certicate programs and noncredit coursesall designed to Kim Mitchell, director of tourismprovide a transformative environment fostering the academic, social, economic and with the Blount Partnership, agrees:cultural enrichment of the individual and the community.The convention space is a great addition to our community from a business point of view, where we can attract small to mid-sizeA TBR INSTITUTION/AN AA/EEO COLLEGEwww.BlountPartnership.com 13'