Walker Foundation Gives $500,000 Towards Arena Construction
Siloam Springs, Ark. (May 18, 2009) — John Brown University is pleased to announce that the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation have pledged $500,000 toward the construction of a new arena on the JBU campus. “JBU is deeply grateful to the Walker Foundation for this wonderful gift. The Walker Foundation has been instrumental in supporting the growth and excellence at JBU, and this new commitment continues that tradition of generous giving. Generations of JBU students will benefit from the Walker Foundation’s generosity as they enter this new arena to enjoy a sporting event, or worship at a special chapel, or participate in graduation, all of which will be housed in this new space,” said Dr. Charles Pollard, president of JBU. The 38,000 square-foot facility will provide much needed athletic and gathering space for the university. Currently JBU hosts most of its athletic events in the nearly 50 year-old Murray Sells Athletic Center, which seats less than 1000 people. The new arena will provide much needed space for larger gatherings such as graduation and special events, as well as occasionally serving as a venue for larger chapel services. “We are very thankful and excited about this generous gift from the Walker Foundation,” Dr. Jim Krall, vice president for university advancement said. “Their commitment to this key project at JBU is a huge encouragement. This special gift has come at a critical time in the planning process and has provided significant momentum towards building this important facility on the JBU campus. This arena will be a huge benefit for our students, and we are thankful for the Walker Foundations involvement.” JBU has initiated the design and development phase for the $9.5 million project with architects SPARKS Education, a division of Crafton, Tull, Sparks & Associates, Inc. The arena will be built to the east of Murray Sells Athletic Center. No date for the groundbreaking has been set yet, pending the additional funding needed to complete this project. The university hopes to have the final funding in place by late summer, 2009. The $500,000 gift takes the total gifts and pledges to nearly 50 percent of the needed amount for construction and operating costs.