Beehive Home Child Care set to open in Sunnyside, Telluride

Via Telluride News By Justin Criado Editor

As part of the Sunnyside affordable housing project, Beehive Home Child Care will operate an in-home day care facility. Tentative timeline for enrollment is June. (Courtesy image)

The Telluride area will have a new child care facility this summer, when Beehive Home Child Care opens for business in the recently constructed Sunnyside affordable housing project.  

Officials announced the decision to welcome Cale Cramer into a four-bedroom Sunnyside unit that was built specifically for an in-home day care facility during a hybrid Telluride Housing Authority Subcommittee meeting Wednesday morning. The trio of subcommittee members in attendance — DeLanie Young, Adrienne Christy and Geneve Shaunette, who was joining via Zoom — unanimously approved the recommendation.  

“This is a much-needed service in the town and in our community,” Telluride Human Resource Director Julia Prejs said, adding that a 10-person panel released a request for proposal and ultimately interviewed Cramer last week.  

The plan is for Cramer, who previously worked for Mountain Munchkins before taking her current position with Head Start in her home state of Oklahoma, to settle into the Sunnyside spot in May. She’ll then have to go through the required licensing process, as well as seek a waiver, to eventually be able to provide care for up to six children. The plan is to start enrolling children in June.  

“She can start with five children. The goal is to be able to get up to six, but because the backyard was built a little bit too small, we need to go through a waiver process to get that,” Strong Start Program Coordinator Cathy Barber explained from Rebekah Hall Wednesday. “ … She can have children in there while she’s going through her licensing process. The licensing process will take a minimum of 90 days. We believe that it’ll take a little bit longer than that. In the meantime, she can have up to four children unlicensed. Once she has her license, she can have five. Then she will go through the waiver process, so hopefully there will be six. That will be a mixture of infants, toddlers and potentially a couple of preschoolers.”  

The tentative hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., while Fridays will be “an admin day,” as Barber put it, during the same times to “clean up her house and prepare for the next week and do all of the things that she needs to do outside of her classroom.” 

“We’re very excited. She gave a fantastic presentation,” she added. “ … We could not have found a more perfect fit.” 

The Sunnyside project is a partnership between the Town of Telluride and San Miguel County, so the entities “took an out-of-the-box approach to address the current housing and child care crisis,” according to a staff memo prepared by Telluride Deputy Town Manager Zoe Dohnal.  

“There are currently zero infant slots in the Town of Telluride and minimal opportunity to expand centers to include these slots. One solution was to create a Family Child Care Unit within the Sunnyside development, which will allow one person to care for up to 6 children at a time, prioritizing ages ranging from infant to preschool,” it explained.  

The panel consisted of Prejs, Barber, Dohnal, Telluride Town Manager Scott Robson, Telluride Director of Housing Melanie Wasserman, Bright Futures Director Kathleen Meritt, Bright Futures Program Director Clea Willow, Bright Futures Early Childhood Coordinator Valentina Estella, San Miguel County Commissioner Lance Waring and Mountain Village Mountain Munchkins Director Dawn Katz. The 10 members unanimously approved to recommend Cramer and Beehive Home Child Care. 

“Operating details will be finalized internally by staff with contract execution. The Telluride Housing Authority (THA) must first approve allocating the designated Sunnyside Unit C6 to Beehive Home Child Care and Cale (Cramer),” according to the memo.  

During Telluride Town Council’s March 28 meeting, Robson called the regional child care crunch “a crisis” and urged the town to continue to explore potential solutions.  

“I think that’s my message, mayor, is that we really, it’s not a looming crisis, we’re in the midst of a crisis when it comes to child care in Telluride,” Robson said at that time. “I’d like us to play a positive role where we can … we are feeling like we need to explore all of our options with our partners moving forward.” 

Telluride also currently owns two properties that are child care centers, Elaine’s Place and Telluride Preschool. 

Robson explained to council that both places are “stressed with lack of employee base to the point where neither currently is running five days, or Monday through Friday. So they’re only open Monday through Thursday, just based on lack of staffing.” 

He also shared that San Miguel County child care providers are currently watching 175 children, but they’re licensed for 300 children. 

The 30-unit Sunnyside project includes townhomes, an apartment and tiny homes (a mixture of one-to-four-bedroom units). The town and the county will also reserve two units each, which may be used to house employees, in addition to the four-bedroom unit reserved for the in-home day care facility. Five units are reserved for current residents of Shandoka’s F Building, which is getting a facelift, who qualified.

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