In November of 1977...
…Head Over Heels founder Kathleen Macchia opened the doors of our first facility.
It was an 800 square foot space in Oakland, California.
Within 18 months Head Over Heels classes had expanded as the student base had increased to 50 students.
In May of 1979...
…she moved the organization into a 1,200 square foot shared space facility on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland.
As the space was shared, she was required to take down and store all the mats and equipment everyday after class..
…and put everything back together before students arrived the next day.
During the four years that Head Over Heels operated at this location the student base grew to 250 and Kathleen rented an additional space down the street to accommodate all the classes.
In May of 1983...
…Head Over Heels relocated to a larger space in Emeryville, CA.
The facility was two stories; the 4,000 square foot top floor became the office.
Head Over Heels remained at this location for eight years.
During this time, the student body grew from 250 to 400 students.
It was in 1987...
…that HOH’s first competitive program began and our first competing team was born.
1987 also marked Head Over Heels’ ten year anniversary.
During this time the first circus arts classes were added to our program offerings.
Unfortunately $75,000 of improvements were needed, an expenditure which left Head Over Heels reeling.
…Head Over Heels made the big move to 1250 45th Street.
This 22,000 square foot facility was triple the size with 19,600 square feet of gymnastics space, 2,000 square feet of a beautiful hardwood dance floor upstairs, and 1,500 square feet of office space.
Kathleen invested $55,000 in new equipment and $45,000 in remodeling the facility.
The new space came with new challenges
- There was only one bathroom and it was located in the middle of the space.
- Railroad tracks ran through the inside of the building.
- A large loading dock had to be filled and metal fencing had to be removed from the inside of the building.
- The glass in the windows lining the entire side of the building facing the alley was a favorite target of kids with rocks.
The space would not be fit for classes until all of the work was completed.
In January of 1997...
…Head Over Heels opened its doors for classes in the new facility.
An adult program, capoeira, dance, and fitness classes as well as birthday parties and camps were added to our repertoire.
…Kathleen decided to turn Head Over Heels into a non profit 501 (c)(3) organization in order to save it from the financial struggle it had suffered as a result of the move to Emeryville.
A board of directors was chosen and Kathleen stayed on as executive director until she retired in 2000.
Within its twenty years of business, Head Over Heels had employed over 200 coaches and taught over 10,000 children.
Within the same year, Head Over Heels was almost shut down by the City of Emeryville for failing to bring the facility up to code. It seemed that since we had our students do shows for their families, the City changed our building’s status from a gym space to an assembly space.
This change gave our organization additional building code steps to fulfill; steps that would be quite costly.
Head Over Heels was very fortunate to have the mayor and the city planner as fans of our gym. They believed that we were a benefit to the community of Emeryville and spoke up on our behalf within the meetings.
The City required a firewall to be built and an additional water fountain be added.
The upgrades totaled $30,000. Kathleen and Head Over Heels were unable to take out any additional loans and could not pay for the improvements necessary to keep the doors open.
The city managed at the time granted a variance on one of the codes which helped but the battle had already taken its toll on Kathleen and the business.
Later that year, the City approved Head Over Heels for a business retention loan to make improvements inside the building.
It was an extremely difficult year but we pulled through and remained in Emeryville.
Toward the end of our ten year lease we began the search to find a new location that would suit our various programs.
On Friday, March 31, 2006...
…we closed our doors at the 45th Street space and moved down the alley to our current space at 4701 Doyle Street, Bldg. F.
With the volunteered help of the HOH staff and supporters we were able to move and reassemble the entire gym in five short days.
The gym reopened for classes on Wednesday, April 5, 2006.
In November 2007, we celebrated our 30th year of providing athletic excellence for bay area children and families with a Gala at which we honored our founder Kathleen Macchia and celebrated our many accomplishments.