KEVA has been Middleton’s go-to indoor sports center for 22 years and counting, offering adult and youth leagues, classes, camps, open play, and now, private and public events.
But in March of 2020, when the pandemic struck and KEVA’s doors closed, staff rallied together to find ways to still serve the community they’ve grown so close to.
“It was rough to close the facility to so many people when this is where they hang out, this is where they work out, this is where they get their physical activity. Mentally they come and get away from work and burn off steam. It was hard,” said Jennifer Kratochwill, KEVA’s Business Development and Membership Manager.
What they heard from their members was an overwhelming need for help with childcare, while school schedules varied and so many worked from home. So, for the first time, KEVA was able to offer camps during the school year.
“As things changed, we tried to change with them. What better way for them to come and play and do a multitude of sports activities and run around and get tired by the end of the day,” she said.
KEVA also welcomed area middle and high school sports teams who couldn’t practice in their own facilities due to school closures. Kratochwill said KEVA considered it a privilege to be able to help the community during a tough time.
“We really believe heavily in the community. Pulling in the community every way that we can. We do a lot of work with the non-profits, so if they have something they need help with, we love to be a drop off center, a pickup center,” she said. “We love to host any activities for them we can. Just really using this space as much as we can.”
Part of making use of the center’s space has been expanding their event offerings. They’re hosting businesses from across the state, beer tastings, even graduation parties for kids who grew up at KEVA .
“This is where they learned how to play volleyball, play basketball. They learned how to swing a golf club here for the first time.”
Events like the Haunted Hustle and New Year’s Day Dash, alongside tons of basketball, volleyball and soccer tournaments like the Madison United Annual President’s Cup, are a huge draw for visitors to the area, bringing in revenue for hotels, shops and restaurants and benefiting everyone who lives and works in the Middleton area. It’s a business community Kratochwill says KEVA is proud to support.
“The businesses and the people are fabulous here. Everybody looks out for each other, everybody supports each other. Everybody is always asking what you need help with, who they can introduce you to, what do you need. It’s fabulous,” she said.
They’re beginning to offer more events to the general public as well. “KEVA Live,” a summer concert series, debuted this year, drawing more than 800 attendees from several states to each show, with four more planned for summer 2022.
“I think there’s so much more we can do. KEVA Live was just the tip of the iceberg,” Kratochwill said. “Look at this great space we have, let’s use it. Let’s find ways to get the community here and doing something fun.”
KEVA Sports Center
8312 Forsythia St., Middleton, WI