The Valle Crucis Day School (VCDS) was founded in 1982 by a group of parents who needed a quality child care center located in rural western Watauga County. They began in the Episcopal Mission hay barn which they cleaned, painted and otherwise renovated to bring up to code. VCDS was licensed as a AA childcare center, incorporated, and filed for non-profit status in 1995. After 16 years, they lost their lease. With A USDA loan, they purchased a house to convert to a daycare. They spent $25,000 renovating that building to meet new EPA standards for child care centers. Unfortunately, problems with meeting state standards for water forced them to sell the building to pay off the USDA loan. The VCDS temporarily closed in August, 2003 because no appropriate space was available for immediate lease to continue to provide affordable child care.

A new Board of Directors, formed in October, 2003, identified appropriate space in the Historic Cove Creek School, a rock building from the WPA-era that had been saved from destruction by an organization devoted to preserve the structure, Cove Creek Preservation & Development, Inc. (CCP&D). The first floor space (3,780 sq ft), which was the media center when the school was in operation, was identified as ideal for a day care center. An architect prepared the plans according to the Environmental Rating Scale for child care centers. The occupant of that space, Jung Tao School, agreed to move their operations to the second floor so the daycare could occupy first floor space.

A contractor estimated the cost of renovations at $39,000. Brian Crutchfield of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Cooperative (BREMCO) was contacted to enlist his support. He approached the BREMCO Board of Directors who, in December 2003, loaned VCDS $35,000 at no interest with a 3 year payback beginning in 2005. In conjunction with CCP&D, VCDS was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Cannon Foundation to start the process of developing a water system that would meet state standards. With these 2 major contributions, the renovation project was initiated on January 26, 2004 and completed for reopening on June 1, 2005 at a total cost approaching $100,000.

Community & Volunteer Participation:

  • Cove Creek Preservation & Development (CCP&D) agreed to lease 3,780 sq ft in the Historic Cove Creek School to VCDS for $500/month for 2004, $600/month for 2005, and $700/month in 2006 ($5.40/sq f/month).
  • The Cannon Foundation provided $25,000 jointly to VCDS & CCP&D to drill new wells and find a suitable water source.
  • Blue Ridge Membership Cooperative (BREMCO) loaned $35,000 at no interest with payback beginning in 2005 so renovation could begin. The BREMCO loan money was used to purchase supplies and to pay for licensed labor: plumbing and electrical work.
  • Several hundred dollars worth of building supplies were donated by local building supply businesses. Thousands of hours of volunteer labor built walls, installed sheet rock, rebuilt the stage, stained wood, painted walls, built the fence around the playground, did the landscaping, and are building the playground equipment.
  • The Waggoner Foundation provided $4,000 toward tile and carpet.
  • The Lovett Foundation provided $5,000 for special plumbing fixtures for little children that enabled making the final payment to the General Contractor who had completed the work but patiently waited for several months for final payment.
  • The Janirve Foundation provided $25,000 to CCP&D to fund the water chlorination system and storage tank AND $45,000 to SGDDS to fund much of the renovation costs.
  • Skyline Telephone Membership Corp. loaned $25,000 at no interest to purchase the materials to finish the playground.
  • High Country United Way has funded SGDDS since 2006 which has enable providing full-time staff with health insurance AND enabled continuing the Sliding Fee Scale for tuition.
  • An active Parents Group participates in "work days" at the daycare and helps with fundraising.
  • Our very dedicated teachers, many with degrees in early childhood education, work for a minimal wage, much less than they would make in the public school system (Director: $23,000, Lead Teachers: $9.00/hr, Asst. Teachers: $7.50/hr, Teacher Aides: $6.50/hr.).
  • The bookkeeper and grant writing performs these functions as a volunteer.
  • The Marion Stedman Covington Foundation provided a $7,500 matching grant to replace the windows in the daycare. Matching funds were provided by the Lovett Foundation of Winston-Salem ($3,750), Skyline Telephone Membership Corporation ($1,250), Church of the Holy Cross - Valle Fair ($1,000), Walmart ($500), Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation ($500), Mountaineer Ruritan ($500), and Mast General Store ($250).
  • The Edwin F. Troutman and Family Foundation provided $1,500 toward purchasing classroom supplies.
  • Norma Murphy, area artist, held a fund-raising art sale that raised nearly $500 in donations for art supplies.
  • Skyline Membership Corp. contributed $853 from community funds to help with general operations.
  • The Build-A-Bear Foundation grant of $2,000 will help SGDDS initiate the Creative Curriculum program in our classrooms.
  • Several donors provided funds to send our Lead Teachers and administrative staff to the NYCEAC conference in Greensboro in September 2007: E.R. James, Steve & Patti Ryan, Ruben & Rhina Garcia, Harrison Stern, Leo Mast, Benjamin Mast, Len & Betty Cornett.
  • The Waggoner Foundation and Sam's Club Foundation grants enabled purchase of energy-efficient washer & dryer and 4 new refrigerators.
  • Donors who have made it possible for SGDDS to start a Food Program to provide hot lunches to the children include the High Country Women's Fund donation to purchase a stove, storage shelves, and food to start the program.
  • The Janirve Foundation awarded $10,000 to replace the 6-passenger stroller, to build a wall to separate the two preschool classrooms, install a safety fence, and partial funding to erect a sunshade.
  • The Boone Service League and the Appalachian Women's Fund each provided funding to purchase food for the Food Program and the Food Pantry at SGDDS.