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A Successful Operation

MMC Contractors partners with general contractor Robins & Morton for the expansion and renovation of University Medical Center of El Paso. Local labor plays a key role in delivering
mission-critical mechanical systems and exemplary safety record.


Hospitals don’t close like other commercial buildings. They’re constantly pulsing with patients, families, and staff members 24/7. So how do you renovate a large tertiary hospital while it remains open for business? You do it just like they perform surgery at the hospital — very carefully. After four years and six phases, University Medical Center of El Paso recently completed construction and renovation of new and existing facilities to meet the needs of a growing population and expanded service lines. University Medical Center of El Paso is truly a healthcare pillar of the community, owned by the people of El Paso. It’s the city’s only not-for-profit, community hospital, and it serves all who seek help, regardless of their ability to pay.

General contractor Robins & Morton selected MMC Contractors to provide complete pre-construction and construction services for all mechanical areas of the large expansion and renovation project. Leland Elston was senior superintendent for Robins & Morton on the project and said MMC Contractors got the job due in large part to their creative cost management and cost-savings ideas.

“MMC Contractors came up with a multitude of cost-savings ideas in our pre-construction planning, and they also dealt creatively and professionally with change requests during construction,” said Elston. “They were ready to provide good ideas and suggestions that met our general contracting needs as well as the needs of the owner.”


During the pre-construction process MMC Contractors provided various equipment and piping options as well as guidance on scheduling and phasing in order to keep the hospital operational throughout construction.

MMC Contractors relocated and connected utilities in the 5,500 ton central utility plant, installing three new 1,400-ton chillers, cooling towers and a new pumping system, while keeping the legacy system operating. Steam boilers were also added and new controls were installed throughout. This phase was one of the more difficult as new piping and connections had to be routed around existing materials, and cutover had to go smoothly and quickly to ensure continuous heating and cooling services.

MMC Contractors also fabricated and installed all plumbing, medical gas, and HVAC in the 623,260 square foot main hospital project. Renovations included: a new emergency department; level one trauma expansion and renovation; relocated operating rooms; and department expansion for cardiology, orthopedics, and general surgery.

The new 224,500 square foot women’s and children’s hospital tower includes pediatric surgery operating rooms, 60 pediatric private rooms, 20 pediatric intensive care and 50 neonatal intensive care beds.


As an experienced superintendent with dozens of hospital projects under his belt, Elston has worked with many subcontractors. According to him, MMC Contractors ranks as one of the best. Ken Fenstermaker is a senior project manager and was the point person on the project for MMC Contractors.

“A big part of the success of this project was due to the professionalism of Ken Fenstermaker at MMC Contractors,” said Elston. “I’ve been in this business a long time and people like Ken are hard to find.”

At the request of the owner and Robins & Morton, MMC Contractors enlisted El Paso-area and Texas-based subcontractors. Thanks to good overall project management, eleven local subcontractors were able to participate and not be overwhelmed by the scope. Most importantly, local payroll dollars were kept in the area. MMC Contractors also worked with pipefitters and plumbers of Local #412 for its part of the build for unique project management and labor partnership. “MMC Contractors is one of the finest partners we could have had on this project,” said Elston. “And I sincerely hope we have the chance to work together again.”