Yuhuang Chemical, the Chinese company developing its first major U.S. project in St. James Parish, has purchased St. James High School and its 46-acre campus from the School Board for $10.1 million, to be paid in three installments.

The school, located in the community of St. James, will continue to serve students until a new west bank high school is built over the next couple of years.

At that point, the chemical company plans to use the main building of the high school, located on River Road on the west bank of the Mississippi and fronted with an alley of live oak trees, as its administrative campus.

The St. James School Board plans to build a new high school away from industry, on 54 acres off La. 3127 in Vacherie.

Voters last May overwhelmingly approved a $56 million bond issue to upgrade schools and build the new high school.

The bonds will be supported by the extension of an existing 10-mill property tax.

As outlined in its contract with the School Board, Yuhuang Chemical has paid the school district the first installment of $3.36 million, making future payments according to a schedule, the company said in a news release Thursday.

“The purchase of the existing St. James High School has accelerated our ability to implement our capital improvement plan, including the construction of a new high school,” St. James schools Superintendent Alonzo “Lonnie” Luce said in the release.

Yuhuang Chemical is the North American subsidiary of the Shandong Yuhuang Chemical company of China.

The first phase of its project in St. James Parish will be a 1.7 million-tons-per-year methanol plant, which is scheduled to be online in 2018, the company said in its news release Thursday.