May 12, 2022
22-77

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Secures Funds to Update Space for Students with Disabilities

The Georgia General Assembly, during the final hours of the 2022 Legislative Session, approved a $30.2 billion state budget that includes $2 million in funding for the renovation of Valdosta State University's Farbar Hall, which houses the university's Access Office. Gov. Brian Kemp signed the budget on May 12. Pictured, from left to right, are Access Office staff members Margaret L. Duncan, accessibility strategist; Rebecca Taylor, director; Heather Farley, administrative coordinator; and Laura Byers, coordinator of deaf and hard-of-hearing services.

VALDOSTA — A state-funded renovation project will support Valdosta State University’s efforts to remove physical, educational, and other barriers and create an inclusive and diverse living and learning environment that is accessible to all.

The Georgia General Assembly, during the final hours of the 2022 Legislative Session, approved a $30.2 billion state budget that includes $2 million in funding for the renovation of VSU’s Farbar Hall.

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the budget on May 12.

“We appreciate the governor including $2 million in the FY2023 state budget for the renovation of Farbar Hall,” said Dr. Richard A. Carvajal, president of VSU. “This renovation will be a tremendous benefit to our campus community for decades to come. As always, Valdosta State remains committed to being an excellent steward of the state’s resources.” 

Located on Main Campus, Farbar Hall opened in 1962 as a student infirmary and is currently home to VSU’s Access Office.

The primary objective of the Access Office is to provide equal access to campus programs and activities for all students while upholding the academic standards of the university. 

Alan Sanderson, associate director of facilities planning at VSU, said Farbar Hall requires improved Americans with Disabilities Act access, upgrades to the building envelope, and renovation of interior spaces, including the removal of small exam rooms in favor of new academic learning spaces and offices. The fully funded $2 million project budget covers design, construction, and furniture for the 60-year-old 6,900-square-foot facility.

“The renovation will create a facility that will provide a safe and modern environment for students with disabilities, with the possibility of increasing testing and other accommodation spaces,” said Rebecca Taylor, director of VSU’s Access Office.

Assuming no delays, Sanderson said architect selection for the Farbar Hall renovation project would begin in Fall 2022. The project could be completed as early as Fall 2024.

The FY2023 state budget also included full funding for the $5,000 cost-of-living adjustment Georgia leaders recently announced for state employees, including those in the University System of Georgia. Because state leaders also included additional compensation in an amended budget for the last quarter of the FY2022 budget, more than 1,000 VSU faculty and staff members began seeing the pay increase take effect in April.  

“We appreciate very much Governor Kemp’s inclusion of a well-deserved cost-of-living raise in his budget proposal,” Carvajal said. “We are equally grateful to the leadership in the General Assembly, particularly our local Lowndes County delegation, for passing the cost-of-living adjustment, which will be a tremendous boost to VSU employees.” 

On the Web:
https://www.valdosta.edu/student/disability/
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