GONZALES — The Ascension Parish School Board awarded a $1 million contract Tuesday for preparation work at the site where a new school will be built to replace George Washington Carver Primary School.

At $1 million, Acadian Commercial Contractors LLC was the lowest of seven bids to prepare the site of the former Gonzales Country Club for construction.

The contract also includes construction of a concrete entrance drive to the site, said Chad Lynch, the school system’s director of planning and construction.

The new school will cost more than $15 million to build, Lynch said

Renovations to Carver Primary would have been more expensive than building a new school, Lynch has said.

The federal Qualified School Construction Bond program loaned the school system $10 million in bonds to build the school, Lynch said.

The rest of the project’s money — around $6 million — is being funded out of the $100 million bond initiative voters passed in 2009.

The school system broke ground on the new school Tuesday afternoon, said Johnnie Balfantz, the school system’s public information officer.

The board also moved to advertise for bids on another project that will use a portion of the 2009 bond money for renovations at Dutchtown Middle and Primary schools, Lynch said.

This phase of work will include new classrooms, a new gym and the conversion of the former gym into the school’s new library, Lynch said.