The East Central College Board of Trustees Monday night unanimously voted to accept the low bid for a new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system as part of a renovation project going on in the art rooms.

The board approved a bid from Coleman Heating and Sheet Metal of Bridgeton in the amount of $134,648.

The only other bid was $143,874 from Beaufort company, Air Pro Heating and Cooling.

The bid includes removal of four existing HVAC units and the connecting ductwork. It also includes installation of four new units, duct work, gas lines, reinstallation of dust collection, spray booth and kiln exhaust ductwork and hooding along with installation of control electronics.

The total cost of the renovations is estimated around $300,000, but ECC President Jon Bauer said the college would be reimbursed 50 percent by the state in maintenance and repair funds. The college also is saving money by doing a lot of the work with its own employees.

“Our own personnel costs can be submitted as the local match for those funds,” Bauer said.

For more than 20 years the art department has been housed in space that was originally used by the automotive technology, building construction and welding programs. The space was never renovated for the specific needs of the art program.

Although in this case, the bid from Coleman was significantly lower than from Air Pro, but board members questioned whether there should be a policy in place to accept local bids whenever possible.

“We don’t have a local preference policy per se,” Bauer said. “If two bids are equal, we would go with the local bid, but, like in this case, the lowest qualified bid is the one we would go with.”