Brookings Area MAKERSPACE part of COVID-19 Response Needs

When the call came from the local medical community seeking head straps as part of the personal protective equipment used by staff, MAKERSPACE member Becky Jurrens was quick to answer. Jurrens is not only an active MAKERSPACE member, she is also a medical professional herself as well as a local small business owner.

“I was excited to be able to help my colleagues and the community. It’s always rewarding when you’re able to support others and getting to use my creative talents while doing so was just an added bonus!” said Jurrens.

She cut out 210 acrylic straps utilizing the laser engraver in the MAKERSPACE and plans to distribute them to the nurses, lab technician and x-ray technicians at Avera Clinic, with any remaining clips to be donated to the Brookings Health System.

Jurrens designed two different styles of head straps; one attaches to a ponytail holder which allows the strap to stay on even when the face mask is removed. Both strap designs help alleviate ear sores and pain that result from extended use of face masks.

The Brookings Area MAKERSPACE is a shared workshop and creative space for the local community of inventors and innovators that features equipment such as 3D printing and scanning, wood shop, laser engraver and industrial sewing machine. A program of Brookings Economic Development Corporation (BEDC), the MAKERSPACE opened in 2015 and averages 30-40 members per month.

“We are excited to see the resources of the MAKERSPACE having a direct impact on the well-being of our medical community.” said Jennifer Quail, BEDC’s Director of Entrepreneur Support. “BEDC’s programs and initiatives are designed to support innovative products and solutions; the COVID crisis has highlighted the impact and value of these efforts.”

To comply with the City of Brookings ordinance, promote member safety and minimize spread, current access to the Brookings Area MAKERSPACE is limited to COVID-19 response and relief efforts and order fulfillment.

In addition to making the MAKERSPACE available to assist with COVID-19 efforts, BEDC is loaning 3D printers to SDSU as they pool local resources to make masks for Brookings area health and security personnel. Their initial goal is to print 500-1,000 masks, according to Quail.

 The MAKERSPACE is just one of BEDC’s many events and programs that are part of the Brookings Start-up Hub, supporting ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship in the Brookings region. For more information, visit startupbrookings.com or contact Quail at (605) 697-8103, by email at jennifer@brookingsedc.com.  

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