The Campbell University Board of Trustees and Chairman Fred H. Taylor announced the University plans to break ground for the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center on Friday, September 1, 2006, contingent upon raising the remaining $4.2 million dollars necessary to meet the Kresge Foundation Challenge Grant. In making the announcement, Taylor stated, "I'm looking forward to it like a child looks forward to Christmas. I really want to see it happen because the John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center will be a great asset for Campbell University and for Harnett County." The facility is being named in memory of the late John W. Pope Jr., a Campbell alumnus and son of the president and CEO of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. The gift for the convocation center was made by the John William Pope Foundation. Fund raising initiatives for the project were led by Bob Barker, chairman, Campaign Cabinet for the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. "This is the largest single fund raising project ever undertaken by the University," said Barker. "Alumni, Trustees, Advisors, Faculty, Staff, Harnett County citizens and friends - literally across the world - have risen to the challenge to meet this important need at this critical time in Campbell's expansion." At 106,000 square feet, this facility will be the largest sporting and cultural events center in the immediate region. The center's bowl, the Gilbert Craig Gore Arena, will have a seating capacity of 3,000 for sporting events and 5,000 for concerts, lectures and graduations. The arena is being named by Mr. and Mrs. Ed Gore in memory of their infant son. Indoor sports are the primary venue for the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center, including basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. The facility will also include a student fitness center to meet the physical conditioning needs of the current student body. Athletic administration and coaches' offices will be housed within the new structure. Campbell University's Sports Hall of Fame will be located in the main entrance area of the new center. Campbell University President, Jerry M. Wallace, stated, "The John W. Pope, Jr. Convocation Center is a significant step forward for Campbell University, Harnett County and southeastern North Carolina. For over three decades, the University has been investing in and building six schools – the College of Arts and Sciences, the Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Pharmacy, and the Divinity School. However, the time is now to build this long awaited and much anticipated athletic complex."