GREENSBURG —St. Helena Parish high school students could be dining in a new cafeteria next school year, after the School Board approved a low bid Thursday for renovations of the former technical college buildingnext to the high school campus.

Blount Construction, of Walker, won the contract with a base bid of $592,000, according to figures presented by Clay Slagle, senior program manager with Volkert Inc.

The base bid includes water and sewer improvements, architectural improvements and electrical work to convert the space into a food service area for the high school students, Slagle said.

Estimates for the work prior to the bid process ran just under $700,000, “so we’re extremely pleased with this low bid,” Slagle said.

Kitchen equipment was also put out for bid in the form of three alternates.

“We broke up the equipment because we were concerned about the price of the base bid and didn’t want to have to rebid it all if the low bid came in too high,” Slagle said.

Blount’s three alternate bids totaled $270,600, bringing the total bid for base and all alternates to $862,600.

The district’s budget for the renovations is $750,000, which will also have to cover architectural, program management and geo-technical service fees, Slagle said.

However, Blount’s equipment supplier committed to honoring the quoted prices until May 31, giving the board about six months to secure more funding and complete the renovation project phase without having to re-cost the materials, Slagle said.

Volkert and Blount will host a job and contractor fair in December to give area workers and subcontractors an opportunity to meet with and offer their services to the general contractor, he said.

Construction is expected to begin by early 2013 and take about five months to complete, Slagle said.

Following the cafeteria renovations, the School Board plans to create a media library and build out classrooms in the former technical college building.

Other business before the School Board on Thursday included:

REDISTRICTING: The School Board approved a redistricting plan that gives board members the same district boundaries and voting precincts as their counterparts on the parish Police Jury.