ZACHARY - The Zachary Community School Board voted unanimously Thursday to accept the low bid of Buquet and LeBlanc Inc. for construction of a new school for first- and second-grade students.

First-graders attend Northwestern Elementary School and second-graders attend Zachary Elementary School.

Buquet and LeBlanc’s bid totaled $15.8 million, school district Operations Director Scott Devillier said.

The eight bids ranged as high as $18.5 million.

“This bid is $400,000 less than our budget projection from our architect, Henry Carville,” Devillier said. “We have been very lucky with our bids in the last few years.”

The new school will be built on a 62-acre site between Rollins Road and Rollins Place and is scheduled for completion by December 2012.

The board also set a budget of $100,000 for the first phase of planned renovations to Port Hudson Career Academy.

The proposed improvements include a new parking lot and an intercom system.

The board also considered other matters, including:

YMCA PARTNERSHIP: During their work session, board members heard from Bank of Zachary CEO Harry Morris about a possible partnership between the proposed Americana YMCA and Zachary Community Schools.

Morris, a recent addition to the YMCA board, said the School Board could use the YMCA facilities for tennis and aquatic events and practices.

Under a proposed agreement, the public schools would have the option of investing $150,000 to use the pool facilities only, $75,000 for tennis facilities only, or $200,000 for use of both.

The school district’s contribution would be used to fund construction of the new YMCA.

The facility is still in the planning stages and the organization would accommodate any needs the schools have, such as extra pool lanes and scoreboards, if the school district signs the contract, Morris said.

“The plans on the pool should be finished by the second week of August,” he said. “So take some time to think about it, but not too long.”

Construction on the YMCA facility is scheduled to begin in March and is expected to be complete within 400 days, Morris said.

Zachary students travel to the Ketcham Fitness Center on Bluebonnet Boulevard in Baton Rouge for swim meets.

Tennis matches are held in various locations throughout the parish.