ST. FRANCISVILLE — In a three-hour virtual meeting May 19, the West Feliciana Parish School Board moved forward with two construction projects.

The board first agreed to seek bids for clearing a portion of the land the school system purchased last year as the site for a new elementary school, then approved the site plan for a major renovation and construction project at the high school.

Marco Gonzalez, of Volkert Inc., the board’s construction manager, said the work on the new school property is designed to get the site ready for the contractor submitting the winning bid to build the school. Bids for the site work will be opened next month, and the work will proceed over the summer.

Gonzalez said the site work’s budget is $1.3 million.

The project will include removing approximately 14 trees that cannot be saved or will be directly on the school site, thinning other wooded areas, grading three areas, filling in part of a ravine and setting the building pads.

The work will allow the construction contractor to begin work with a level building bad, Gonzalez said.

Lori Prochaska, of Tipton Associates, led board members over the layout for the high school project, which will include construction of a new gymnasium near Bains Road, a parking area for 175 vehicles, conversion of the old gymnasium to a new career education center, renovation of an existing classroom area as a freshman academy and a new administrative offices and classroom area.

The entrance of the school will be rotated 90 degrees from U.S.. 61 to reorient the campus toward Bains Road, Prochaska said.

The new gymnasium will have bleacher seating for 1,500 people and room for additional seating, she said.

Gonzalez said the budget for the project is $12.6 million, and each individual component budget includes a 5 percent contingency figure.

The construction and renovation projects will be funded by a $52.6 million bond issue that voters approved in on May 4, 2019.