City of Aspen approves lease in Yellow Brick for Ajax Cubs

Parents pick up their children at the city's Yellow Brick Building on North Garmisch Street.
Aspen Time s File

The city of Aspen took a step forward in improving the local child-care crisis this week by approving a lease in the Yellow Brick Building for Ajax Cubs, a new preschool, toddler, and infant care center. This comes after months of striking out in their search for child-care providers to operate out of the building.

The lease is set to commence Jan. 1, 2023, and end Dec. 31, 2023, and Ajax Cubs will have the opportunity to extend the lease for two, one-year lease terms. The lease requires Ajax Cubs to give 60-day notice of their intent to extend the lease for an additional year.

In August 2021, Kids First — the citizen-advisory board that oversees the city’s taxpayer-funded, child-care program — decided the child-care providers that leased the Yellow Brick building at the time would have to provide child-care five days per week rather than four. This was in an effort to increase child-care capacity in Aspen; however, the two child-care providers, Aspen Mountain Tots and Playground Aspen, agreed that going to five days a week would not help with capacity.

At minimum, Ajax Cubs will operate five days per week, with minimum hours of 8 a.m.-4 p.m. They are required to operate for at least 200 days per year.

According to the agenda memo, financial impacts will help to make up for revenue lost when Playgroup Aspen closed in June.

“The impact of four new child-care classrooms for children ages 3 months to 5 years will be felt through available care for approximately 40 or more children,” the agenda memo states.

Ajax Cubs will offer three services. The first is a preschool for ages 3-5, with curriculum developed by Ivy Camps USA that meets Colorado and European education standards. There will be two preschool rooms at Yellow Brick.

The other two rooms will be filled with by Toddler Care for ages 18 months to 3 years, and Infant Care, for ages 2-18 months.

“We are excited to provide year-round child-care services to local families. Ajax Cubs will focus on helping children develop in an environment where nature, play, and education intersect” said Oliver Umpleby, one of the founders of Ajax Cubs in a press release.

The resolution was approved without being pulled for discussion.