Bayport-Blue Point Library Director Michael Firestone stands beside the renovation plans for the former Ursuline Center. He is standing in the future children’s wing.
The former Ursuline Center renovation project, the new Bayport-Blue Point Library home, is making its way through the journey of critical approvals.
The library has received a green light to start the Middle Road location’s Phase I site work.
“We heard Sept. 30 from New York State Education Department Facilities Planning,” said BBP Library director Michael Firestone. BBS Architects, Landscape Architects & Engineers prepared the paperwork. As for Phase II, “it went to the State Education Department in September and so far, their comments have been pretty benign.”
In anticipation, although a definite yes hasn’t been announced for Phase II approval, Firestone said bids for both phases of the 35,000-square-foot building will be sought by December’s end, or beginning of January, as suggested by Park East Construction, the Huntington-based firm BBP Library is using.
All totaled, $13,197,800 in renovation plans were applied for to the state. The BBP Library purchased the property officially from the Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk U.S. Province on Feb. 11 for $3,650,000, after the local community voted for the project.
The approval for Phase I came just in time, Firestone commented. “We needed that to apply for a New York State Library Construction grant by Oct. 3,” he said. “The state Legislature ultimately has to approve the grant, but it has been recommended that we receive $300,000.”
Firestone said he thought the construction work might begin on mechanical necessities, like the new HVAC system, or in the children’s wing, where the stacks planned would be accessible to youngsters once the bids are decided on. “Phase I is exterior work, which we got approval for,” Firestone explained. “Phase II is the interior work, but because we’re bidding them together, the interior work might start before because of possible weather issues. Phase I involves raising the septic systems above the water table and addressing handicap sidewalks.”
BBP Library board president Ron Devine Jr. said, “It probably takes 30 to 60 days for the bids to come back.”
The original 1930s building is in good shape. “BBS and Park East did a thorough analysis of the building and if there was anything of note, they found it,” Devine commented. “The basement is in pretty good shape; the chapel area will be the showpiece and usable. Our goal is to complete the renovation work as soon as possible.”
Devine said the county and the town wanted to partner on a couple of hopeful collaborations. That includes building sharing and a possible open-space purchase.
“We’re definitely adhering to the timeline,” Firestone said. “We anticipated bidding out late 2019, early 2020. That gives us 16 months for the construction project.”
As Devine said of the project, “It will be a lasting legacy.”