ST. FRANCISVILLE — The West Feliciana Parish School Board accepted the final construction plans Sept. 29 for additions and renovation work at the high school.

The board had earlier set a $12.6 million budget for the project, which is part of a $52.6 million construction program voters approved in a May 2019 bond issue.

The district also is building a new Bains Elementary School.

Advertisements for construction bids will be published during October, and the board set a special Nov. 5 meeting to receive bids and possibly select a contractor.

The work includes a new gymnasium on the north end of the high school campus, near Bains Road, and a new administrative area and two-story freshman academy tied to the existing main building.

A third project, to convert the existing gymnasium to a new career and technical education center, will begin when the new gym is completed.

Marco Gonzalez, a representative of the overall construction manager, and Lori Prochaska, representing the project architects, led the board through a discussion of the project.

Gonzalez said design firms hope to be able to open the gymnasium next fall, along with the freshman academy.

The old gym will be converted to classrooms and lab spaces for welding, culinary arts, electrical and carpentry instruction, robotics, the school’s certified nursing assistant program, choir and Naval Junior Reserve Officers Corps.

Gonzalez said the bid package will include two alternative proposals separate from the main project: a covered walkway between the new gym and main school building and a rear drive to serve the career education building.

A slowdown in area construction work related to the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in lower construction bids on the other school projects, which has allowed the board to afford extra features such as canopies and concrete instead of asphalt paving on a new parking lot.