Bayport-Blue Point library officials said this week they are optimistic that they can strike a deal to buy a convent and turn it into a new, expanded library.
Library officials said recent talks with a broker for the St. Ursula convent in Blue Point have been productive and could be concluded in time to set a public referendum for the fall.
“We’re hopeful, but we’re not there,” library board president Ronald F. Devine Jr. said at a meeting Wednesday night. “We are serious purchasers. . . . We’re ready to roll.”
The 8.27-acre convent property on Middle Road was put up for sale last year by the Ursuline Sisters of Kildonk, which has owned the property for 83 years. The sisters have said the convent’s aging nuns must move because of declining health and dwindling funds.
Ursuline officials could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The Westhampton Beach-based Seafield Center, a drug rehabilitation facility, withdrew a $5.3 million offer to buy the convent in January, amid opposition from Brookhaven Town officials and Blue Point residents.
Library officials have said they could expand their programs by leaving the current library on Blue Point Road in Blue Point and moving into the convent, which would require extensive renovations.
A consultant hired by the library board has estimated converting the convent to a library would cost $11.9 million, not including the cost of buying the land.
An appraiser hired by the library has assessed the property, but library officials have not disclosed the appraisal value.
Purchasing and renovating the convent would require the approval of library district residents in a public referendum. Devine, who is the Brookhaven Town assessor, said the bond vote could occur in the fall if the religious order agrees to sell the convent by next month.
Library trustee Mary Ellen Adams said a new library would help Bayport-Blue Point upgrade its facilities, adding that some teenagers in the community go to the Sayville Public Library instead.
“They’re big,” she said of other libraries. “They have a lot to offer the community.”
Bayport resident Marlene Brennan said she thinks the convent purchase would receive public support “if they knew what it’s going to cost,” adding the convent is “a lovely building on a lovely piece of property. What better use of it than a library?”