A Texas-based charter school operator has purchased a 14.3-acre site north of Cortana Mall for the first of four schools it hopes to open in Baton Rouge.

IDEA Public Schools bought the land at Airway and Tom drives for $1.4 million in a deal that closed Friday. The seller was Olshan Properties of Ohio. 

IDEA, based in the Rio Grande Valley, announced in May it had a purchase agreement for the Cortana area site. The company plans to open two schools in time for the 2018-19 school year. According to a contract it approved with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in May, the group will operate K-12 schools with an elementary “academy” and a secondary “college." The proposed contract allows for IDEA to enroll as many as 6,144 students, and state law allows them to enroll another 1,228 children.

IDEA is close to acquiring 10 acres of LSU property in the Gardere area for its second school.

The other two schools will open in 2020 and 2021.

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.