Walking through the empty basement hallway of Kerr Hall, one may expect silence. However, that usually is never the case.
The Ryerson dungeon, also known as the Engineering Student Design Zone, is located in the basement of Kerr Hall North. Echoes of exciting conversation bring the place alive, as well as the jingling and clanking of metal objects hitting and rubbing against each in the name of friction.
When entering the zone, its presence can be a surprise. Several doors on both sides lead into the space, with doors connecting into other rooms.
Take a look at the large space with bright lights and laminate floors, and it does not resemble the dungeon that students once knew it as. With proper air ventilation and the incredibly organized space divided into different compartments, this area is where science and engineering students build their astounding machines.
In the past, the dungeon was seen as a dimly lit location where students would hang out or deal drugs. However, seeing the potential and the advantage of the large space in the basement of Kerr Hall North, Ryerson refurbished the entire room for young developers and creators who spend hours of their days creating various mechanical projects.
“This club gives students an opportunity to connect with others around the nation, giving a chance to network with people in the same field. It also looks great on the resume,” said Feroz Balsara, an engineering student.
The community is open to any individual with an idea or interest in being a part of the projects and competitions that take place throughout the year in the science community. Many teams call the basement home, such as Robotics, Supermileage, Baja, Concrete Toboggan, Rocketry, and Thrill Club. The range of different teams gives every student a chance to participate in their field of interest.
“Last year we created this robot that shot basketballs in the hoops and it was actually presented to Ryerson students during an actual game between Ryerson and another university’s basketball team,” said Balsara.
This club is supported by Ryerson and solely depends on its sponsorships, which funds the necessary tools for students to work on their projects. After their use in annual competitions, the projects are showcased on different floors of Kerr Hall, allowing others to see what they’ve created.
President of Ryerson Formula Racing, Greg Lister, said that the sponsorship and support has helped the community be able to create and expose them to many experiences on a nationwide scale.
“A lot of our tools are incredibly expensive, which is an issue in the sense that we have to reuse certain materials from past creations,” said Lister. “Although we do have sponsorships and Ryerson supporting us, having more would be great as well.”
Instead of being “a waste of basement space,” the dungeon has become an area for dedicated students to come together and represent Ryerson. Teams provide many opportunities for students throughout the year to go out in their fields and interact with others in the industry. Although these dates can interfere with their studies, these students are passionate about their work and see the value of applying their knowledge to a project.
Kerr Hall North is far from its dungeon days, and its new reputation and impressive space has now made it the place to be.
Featured image by Natalia Balcerzak