A new Jefferson Parish charter school that was approved by the state last year has received permission to rent a vacant public school building on the West Bank.

Smothers Academy still has to work out with the Jefferson Parish School Board how long the lease will last and how much it will cost.

But the board gave Smothers permission to use the Waggaman building by a unanimous vote Tuesday night. The building, formerly the site of Norbert Rillieux Elementary School, is at 7121 River Road.

The board’s vote means that Smothers, which will be an all-boys school, remains on track to open Aug. 22 with grades K-6, with plans eventually to expand to K-12.

Smothers’ founder, Damon Smothers, said he wants to establish a school with the kind of reputation enjoyed by all-boys Catholic prep schools like Brother Martin, Jesuit and St. Augustine.

In December, he was granted a Type 2 charter by the state, meaning his school will accept students from anywhere in Louisiana, up to a certain enrollment.

At Tuesday’s meeting, board member Cedric Floyd said he was concerned about leasing the vacant building to Smothers because of the possibility a new parish-run school might eventually open there. But officials said it would take at least a few years for those plans to come to fruition, so the board gave its OK to negotiate a lease for the site with Smothers.

State law requires district school boards to make any vacant facilities available to approved charters for lease or purchase at “fair market value.”

The board on Tuesday also unanimously approved a plan for Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy, another Jefferson charter school, to open a new satellite campus beginning in the fall. The new location will house more than 130 students in pre-K and kindergarten.

Kenner Discovery, an open-enrollment, A-rated school, now operates at 2504 Maine Ave.

The new location is being set up at the city-owned Rivertown Exhibition Hall at 415 Williams Blvd. in Kenner for up to two years, which will help make room for a new group of ninth-graders as well as additional fourth- and fifth-grade classes at the main campus this fall, Kenner Discovery chief Patty Glaser said.