UW Health Sports Factory in Rockford, Illinois, one of the largest sports facilities in the Midwest, surprises as both an upcycled and repurposed complex.
The 108,000-sq.-ft. venue that opened in June was once an abandoned industrial tool factory and has been repurposed into a space filled with multiple maple hardwood courts for basketball, volleyball, pickleball, wrestling, cheerleading and other sports.
It’s all part of an interesting initiative by Reclaiming First, a communitywide comprehensive plan to enhance and enlarge the sports facilities in the Rockford area to reclaim the region’s dominance in sports tourism.
“We’ve had two tournaments and many public tours since June, and it’s a huge hit,” says Nick Povalitis, sports destination and sales manager at Rockford Area CVB. “When people walk into the facility their eyes light up.”
Povalitis grew up in the region and is excited to see restaurants, retail and three hotel projects scheduled to move forward because of UW Health Sports Factory. “This is by far the most activity, excitement and investment I’ve seen downtown,” he says. What’s cooler? The complex’s hoops and volleyball nets are suspended without ground anchors, controlled through a wireless system and can be transformed via iPad or computer in minutes. There’s nothing retro about that.
By the Numbers
504,380 expected annual attendance
108,000 square feet of space
96,000 square feet hard court surface
8 basketball courts
16 volleyball courts
180-degree view of Rock River from on-site restaurant
104 miles long, if its hardwoods were laid out piece by piece
442 total parking spaces