Metro Community College’s Prototype Design Lab Now Making Facemasks for Nebraska Med Doctors

OMAHA – The Metropolitan Community College Prototype Design Lab has joined the fight against COVID-19, and is now producing masks for the healthcare professionals at Nebraska Medicine amid a supply shortage that could risk the health of hospital staff.

It began with a call for assistance from Nebraska Medicine. Once Ken Heinze, lab coordinator, was forwarded the message, he connected with Nebraska Medicine, letting them know the College’s lab could answer the call for more medical supplies.

“I’d rather be here in the lab making these masks than sitting at home waiting this thing out,” said Heinze.

Volunteers from the lab and other areas of the College are lending a helping hand, assembling the masks from supplies Heinze has collected from Omaha area stores. Heinze has collected enough material to assemble 1,000 face shield masks, which will be used by health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Heinze is also keeping the 10 people to a room rule in mind.

“We’ll put people around the building if we have to,” he said.

Amid this medical mask supply shortage, it’s critical that people conserve those masks for healthcare professionals, hospital staff, and those who are actively showing symptoms. Don’t buy, wear or take masks if you aren’t in one of those groups.

The MCC Prototype Design Lab

Inside the Center for Advanced and Emerging Technology on the Fort Omaha Campus, the Prototype Design Lab is an open-access makerspace focused on developing prototypes from initial conceptualization to final fabrication. Equipped with 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC routers, a plasma cutter and a vinyl cutter, the lab has an array of tools to create the next big thing.