High School, Business Join Forces to Resupply Scarce Medical Devices

PHOTO COURTESY LIBERTY COMMON HIGH SCHOOL: The school is printing face masks on a 3-D printer in partnership with local developer Neenan

Liberty Common High School (LCHS) and The Neenan Company have teamed up to fabricate and supply medical face shields and ear guards for local and national healthcare workers in their battle against the COVID-19 coronavirus.  

The Fort Collins-based developer and design-build firm, and the region’s top-rated high school have already contributed more than 800 face shields and 600 ear savers to frontline healthcare facilities. Recipients include the Medical Center of the Rockies, Associates in Family Medicine, Colorado Heart and Vascular, as well as hospitals and clinics in Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada. 

“Our hope is that we can continue to support healthcare providers locally and around the country as the supply for medical equipment continues to be strained,” said Zach Adams, a Neenan Company project engineer. A team of four is running nine of LCHS Engineering Department’s 3D printers around the clock to create face-shield frames, while a team of five prepares materials for the visor. 

Materials for the endeavor are donated by The Neenan Company. The project is also funded by the LCHS Key Club and community contributions. The medical shields are a Swedish design approved for surgical use by the National Institute of Health. 

LCHS engineering instructor Kay Lannen is leading the printing effort from the school’s Vulcan’s Forge Lab while continuing to teach her students. “This week, I have been checking on print-jobs in between teaching my online classes and cooking meals at home. Breaks between online classes have become a bit of a scramble,” said Lannen. 

PHOTO COURTESY LIBERTY COMMON HIGH SCHOOL

Her dedication is producing results. “I learned from Liberty Common parent Tiffany Green that some local surgeons had an urgent need for the face shields. The Neenan Company was able to provide 30 shields almost immediately,” Lannen said. After delivering the shields to local surgeons, Green, who is a surgical nurse, reported the surgeons would be very grateful for more of the protective equipment. 

According to LCHS Principal Torgun Lovely, “The opportunity to partner with Neenan is an honor for Liberty Common High School. We’re grateful to be able to do so as a result of the generosity of a 2016 Daniels Fund grant which enabled the school to purchase several 3D printers for our world-class engineering courses. Face shields are in high demand to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and we’re happy to be involved in that effort.”

This timely and meaningful effort is made possible by a strong community partnership led by printers Adams, Lannen, and Zach Bowen, as well as additional team members from The Neenan Company including Nic Forbes, Amanda Gonzales, Patrick Loring, Whitney Churchill, and Sergio Ortiz.

Those interested in donating to the project, volunteering, or requesting shields for medical use are urged to email The Neenan Company at faceshields@neenan.com.