Sag Harbor School District Again Discusses Potential Stella Maris Acquisition

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The Sag Harbor Board of Education is slowly moving ahead with plans to purchase the former Stella Maris Regional School on Division Street.

Schools Superintendent Katy Graves said she intends to start work on a survey later this month that will ask taxpayers if they agree with the possible future uses of the building, which is in the process of being examined by engineers, and whether or not the structure’s potential acquisition—it is on the market with a $3.5 million asking price—is worth the cost.

In October, the district hired BBS Architects, Landscape Architects and Engineers P.C. in Patchogue to conduct a facilities analysis of the former school building. That study will also determine how much it could cost to renovate the building to fit the district’s needs.

The survey will give the public a chance to reflect on a potential purchase, according to Ms. Graves.

“During the month of December, I’m going to be consolidating the information and suggestions of administrators with each of the costs,” Ms. Graves said at a Board of Education meeting on Monday night. “It is not simple to move through all of that information and put it into survey format for participation of the Sag Harbor community.”

Once the survey is created, likely in January, the district will mail a postcard to each household in the community that will remind community members to participate. There will be space in the survey for suggestions about how the building could be utilized, and a space to express concerns about the purchase as well.

The survey will be left on the school website for three weeks. “It can take folks that long,” Ms. Graves said. “We really want to have as much participation as possible by the community.”

Ms. Graves stressed that it was only last month that board members and administrators met with BBS Architects, which outlined a three-phase analysis of plans for a possible purchase.

In phase one, the district would need to ensure that the $3.5 million property is stable and safe; phase two would explore what the district would need to do to bring the building up to State Department of Education standards; and phase three would examine a spectrum of uses for the building, and their associated costs.

School Business Administrator Jennifer Buscemi said that while state education officials are behind in their review and approval of capital projects and bond issues, they have now started to review those items, suggesting that Sag Harbor’s request would not be delayed—if it opts to pursue the purchase.

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