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March 19

March 19, 2020


Derek Rayment
Public + Media Relations Manager
402-960-0697, cell

MCC Prototype Design Lab producing vital facemasks in fight against Covid-19

OMAHA, Neb. — The Metropolitan Community College Prototype Design Lab is now producing masks for Nebraska Medicine amid a supply shortage in the fight against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

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 can 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.

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.


Metropolitan Community College, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, is a comprehensive, public community college that offers affordable, quality education to all residents of Dodge, Douglas, Sarpy and Washington counties. Founded in 1974, MCC has the largest enrollment out of six community colleges in Nebraska and is the second largest postsecondary institution in the state. MCC serves more than 40,000 unique credit and noncredit students.