DONALDSONVILLE — The Ascension Parish School Board is set to vote later this month to advertise for bids on the second phase of a renovation project for Dutchtown Primary and Middle schools that could cost more than $1 million over budget.

In committee discussions prior to Tuesday’s regular School Board meeting, system planning and construction personnel presented plans that include a new gym at the two-school campus, as well as additions to the school’s cafeteria.

The plan calls for demolition of the library site, which will be replaced with a new classroom building, and conversion of the existing gym into a library.

Planning and Construction Director Chad Lynch said the first phase of work — which includes a new physical plant building and equipment, parking lot and student drop-off area in the rear of the primary school — is nearly complete.

“We were going to switch the school over to the new (mechanical) system last weekend, but we didn’t want to take a chance with the weather,” he said.

Lynch added that while the cafeteria work originally was omitted to lower the overall cost, it was determined later the work would be necessary.

Lynch said with the cafeteria work added back to the project, the cost to implement the second phase is estimated at $9.2 million, which is $1.6 million above the $7.5 million available in bond funding.

The estimated combined cost of both phases would exceed the $11.2 million in bond dollars allotted to the Dutchtown projects by just more than a $1.1 million, Lynch said.

Superintendent Patrice Pujol said contingency funds from previous projects could help to cover the additional cost, and the project list has been cut down to the most essential needs.

“I’m confident that with the projects we’ve already completed, we can manage this difference readily,” Pujol said.

Project manager Melissa Defee said the first phase of the Dutchtown project should finish with $475,000 in remaining funds. The work is part of a series of school renovation projects being funded through construction bonds approved by voters in 2009.

Other business before the board included:

NEW CONSTRUCTION: Pujol announced that the school district would officially recognize the start of construction on Sept. 20 for the new G.W. Carver Primary School at the project’s site in Gonzales.