By Kathryn G. Menu
In 2011, after 134 years, the Stella Maris Regional School, the oldest Catholic school on Long Island, closed at the end of the school year. Now the building is for sale with a listed price of $3.5 million.
At Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Board meeting, resident and Harbor Committee member Jeffrey Peters approached the board, asking whether or not it had considered purchasing the former school property. Mr. Peters suggested it would be an ideal place for the village to hold meetings or it could even use it as a community center.
The board was largely quiet about the prospect, some members shaking their heads.
“I’m not touching this,” said board member Ed Deyermond.
On Wednesday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said he was unaware if there was any movement by members of the board to purchase the Division Street property.
“I would say it is listed at $3.5 million, so it is not something I am interested in,” he said. “I think there are major parking issues—it being in the middle of a residential neighborhood—for us to consider moving the village center that way.”
Mayor Gilbride said he would prefer to see the village spend that money to restore the four-story Municipal Building on Main Street, and perhaps fulfill a longtime goal of his—to expand the use of that building into the now vacant third floor. To access the third floor, the village would need to install a new elevator in addition to making other building improvements.
The school property is .74 acre. The one-story building has a total of 32,234 square feet of space, and is a pre-existing, non-conforming commercial space in a residential zone. An open listing is available through all real estate brokerages.
The property is owned by the St. Andrew’s Roman Catholic Church, which is a parish of the Diocese of Rockville Centre. The diocesan communications director, Sean Dolan, was not immediately available for comment. The Reverend Peter Deveraj, the pastor of St. Andrew’s, was also not immediately available for comment.
The diocese closed the school in 2011 after it was revealed it had a $480,000 deficit. While parents initiated a fundraising effort to keep the school afloat, enrollment declined with the news of the school’s financial issues. Since then, there have been two unsuccessful efforts to open pre-schools in the building. It has been used for fundraisers, and also for village police training since it was closed.