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Local Leaders Take an Inside Look at the New UW Health Sports Factory

More than two-dozen local leaders recently toured the new UW Health Sports Factory in downtown Rockford. The new facility, one of the largest sports facilities in the Midwest, is scheduled to open in Summer 2016. The tour was part of an effort to educate the group of leaders on the benefits and impact of the multi-use facility.

Touring the facility were the award winning leaders who were selected as recipients of Soul News Network’s 25 Black Leaders to Watch Awards. Half the leaders received the award in 2015 and others were recipients in 2012. The group has since combined both classes, totaling nearly 50 award winners, under a more formalized group that will convene regularly. “The leaders have come together around two goals,” said Kimberly Buchanan, President of Soul News Network and founder of the awards. “We want to impact the community in a positive way by utilizing a collective voice around initiatives that matter to everyone, from all walks of life. We also want to inspire and motivate the next generation. We’ll do this through our combined expertise in several areas of business and community involvement.” Buchanan says having extensive knowledge about developments such as the UW Health Sports Factory and its impact on youth development and sportsmanship, as well as its goals for unification of the region are essential to the group’s efforts. The group credits Rockford Park District for opening its doors.

Just about every profession one can imagine is represented among this group of highly respected professionals, entrepreneurs and community leaders. From physicians, engineers and attorneys, to executives and owners of profitable businesses. “All the leaders have a story that will resonate with the upcoming generation of leaders,” said Kimberly Buchanan. “Likewise, I feel they are all great examples of what leadership should look like in the local community.”


  •  108,000 square feet
  •  96,000 square feet hard court surface
  •  Parking for 1,000+ within 1/4 mile
  •  Volleyball courts
  •  Basketball courts
  •  Wrestling mats
  •  Pickle ball courts
  •  Seating up to 3,700 spectators
  •  Event plaza
  •  Full service sports bar/restaurant
  •  Meeting rooms
  •  Trade show space


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