Ink Dry on Stella Maris Buy

Christine Sampson

The Sag Harbor School District formally took ownership of the former Stella Maris Regional School last Thursday, about seven months after voters approved the district’s purchase of the property.

A $10.23 million bond for the district to purchase, renovate, and outfit the former Catholic school for use as a center for early childhood and special education services was approved in May by a vote of 736 to 595. That amount included $3.3 million for the property itself.

The district closed on it in the parish offices of the St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, with Katy Graves, the school superintendent, Michael Vigliotta, the school attorney, Jennifer Buscemi, the school business administrator, and the administration of the church present at the closing.

“It is with great anticipation that we move forward on the project in the former Stella Maris school building,” Ms. Graves said in an email last week.

She said the district’s next step is to interview architects “using an interview committee of the stakeholders in the district.”

Anticipating that there will be space left over in the Stella Maris building after the prekindergarten and early childhood special education services are relocated there, the district’s plan also includes leasing space in the building to a registered daycare provider and moving the business offices there.

With the space that frees up at Pierson Middle and High School, the district could then create a true middle school wing there. In the Stella Maris building, Ms. Graves said, the district “is also interested in hosting evening classes and upgrading the gym and stage for practices and theater events.”

Stella Maris was founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in 1877 and was originally known as St. Andrew’s Parish School. The Diocese of Rockville Centre closed the Stella Maris Regional School in 2011 amid declining enrollment and financial woes.