Crosby Hall renovation shows off tech improvements

A photo of a classroom in Crosby Hall.

Photo by Douglas Levere

Published April 19, 2024

From the refurbished classroom studios to the limestone exterior, the renovation of Crosby Hall on South Campus restored the building's aesthetic beauty, inside and out. But thanks to UBIT, Crosby Hall received a significant upgrade in technology offerings as well. 

Aesthetic restoration and tech advancements

“[Crosby Hall] is just a great space for students. The building looks great, and it gives the students an awesome studio space to work in.”
Brian Przepasniak, UBIT Network Engineer.


Headshot of Mike Canfield.

Michael Canfield joined UB in January 2023 as an IT Communications Specialist for UBIT. A former newspaper reporter with a background in higher ed communication, Michael is also a volunteer firefighter. When he’s not writing or learning about all things UBIT, Michael likes to spend time with his wife and two English bulldogs. 

From the beginning of the renovation in September 2021, UBIT staff installed state-of-the-art equipment to give students, faculty, and staff in Crosby Hall fast, reliable Internet, and therefore reliable access to online collaboration tools.   

“[Crosby Hall] is just a great space for students,” said Brian Przepasniak, UBIT Network Engineer. “The building looks great, and it gives the students an awesome studio space to work in.”  

UBIT’s Network and Communication Services team were involved early in the renovation of Crosby Hall, Przepasniak said, collaborating closely with the architects and electrical engineers on the project to ensure that the design adhered to UBIT’s technical guidelines.   

Collaborative planning and execution

During the construction phase of the project, UBIT remained regularly involved to make sure systems were installed correctly. The challenge? Balancing functionality with form, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology, high-def monitors and screens into the building’s historic bones.  

“The existing telecommunication rooms and data cabling prior to the renovation were completely demolished,” Przepasniak said. “UBIT oversaw the design and construction of new telecommunications rooms, pathway, and data cabling to bring Crosby Hall up to date with current standards. Over 20 miles of Category 6A data cabling was installed throughout Crosby Hall.”  

Balancing functionality with beauty

UBIT had a clear vision when it came to the network, Przepasniak said. This was a bit of a challenge, as anything UBIT did for the network had to fit in with the aesthetics of the building.   

“Providing excellent Wi-Fi coverage was a priority,” Przepasniak added. “Our team more than doubled the amount of Wi-Fi access points in Crosby Hall and added dedicated outdoor access points.”   

Doubling the amount of Wi-Fi access points in the building aligns with the latest wireless deployment standards, Przepasniak said, allowing UBIT to provide reliable and fast wireless access to the campus network.  

Enhancing classroom spaces

Adam Pellittieri, Audio Visual Systems Engineer with UBIT Customer Service, was part of the team working on the classroom studios and critique and gallery spaces in Crosby Hall. Working with the School of Architecture, the goal was to create spaces students would find familiar, while also incorporating things like display size, audio to fit the spaces and accessibility of the ubiquitous pinboard that runs throughout the building.   

In architecture classrooms, detailed image viewing is crucial, especially in larger settings like the first-floor spaces, Pellittieri said. For instance, a viewer in the back row of the room may need to view highly detailed or scaled drawings as well as a student sitting in the front row.  

The pinboard presented a unique challenge as it's used extensively for showcasing student projects, Pellittieri said. ITCS had to accommodate current teaching methods while planning for future infrastructure and technology. 

“We worked as hard as possible to make all the spaces as consistent with spaces that students and faculty are familiar with, while iterating to try and make them more sustainable for the school’s IT and professional staff,” he said.   

In a recent trip through the building, Pellittieri saw a group of students using the large new displays to pull up information for a project, while another student was enjoying a movie on them.    

“I was thrilled to see that,” Pellittieri said. “In an active workspace like this, I’m just happy to see the technology be part of their environment and the architecture.”  

Impact of technological upgrades

Madeline Sophie Sutton, a Master of Architecture student, said she appreciates the larger monitors and power outlets built into the desks in the Crosby Hall studios.    

“The combination of the two makes doing class homework and projects just that much easier,” Sutton said. “One of my favorite things about the larger monitors is that when you plug in, and you’re working with someone who’s across the room, you can just turn your monitor and ask them something.”  

While it might seem like having tech tools like larger monitors right at your desk might inhibit collaboration, it’s the opposite, according to Sutton.   

“The tech contributes to collaboration and group learning,” Sutton said. “It’s really exciting.”