By Patricia Middleton, Staff Writer
Posted Feb 27, 2017 at 10:40 AM
“We’re right here, handy.”
Walls that were once lined with architectural drawings are now covered with cutouts ofletters, numbers and dinosaurs.
The architectural firm ofE. Tom Pyle Jr. & Associates, P.A. has remodeled its office space to become Martha’s Little Angels Childcare.
Taking out adult desks and chairs to make way for child-sized chairs and tables, Tom Pyle’s daughter, Sarah Bratcher will administrate the childcare facility, named for Pyle’s first wife, Martha, who died of cancer.
Martha’s Little Angels Childcare’s location at 300 N. Centennial Drive in McPherson makes it easily accessible to major employers such as Pfizer and Viega.
“All these industries, they have trouble finding employees if they don’t have child care,” Pyle said. “We’re right here, handy.”
Martha’s Little Angels Childcare has space available for infants through elementary age children whose parents work either first or second shifts. Weekend care is also available on request.
“We’re hoping this takes off,” Pyle said.
His architectural firm may have a smaller workspace, but it continues to take on projects, including a renovation of the Mel Tillis Theater in Branson, Missouri, which was originally designed by Pyle. It was, in fact, the second theater Pyle designed for the performer, as his show had outgrown the first theater that was constructed.
“I drew up a facility that was two city blocks long and a block and a half wide. It had not only the theater, but also a recording studio because Mel was selling his recording studio in Nashville and wanted it there,” Pyle said.
The Mel Tillis Theater was sold last year to Henan Acrobatics Group of China, a performing troupe which presents both aerial and aquatic acrobatics.
“They hired me to design a water show in the stage,” Pyle said. “They also had me design living quarters for 72 performers.”
The success of the design opened up doors for Pyle to take on an international project. One of the investors for the Henan Acrobatics Group planned to build a 100-acre shopping center in Puyang, China.
“He wanted me to design the parking,” Pyle said. “He wasn’t satisfied with the parking layout they had.”
Pyle’s architectural firm was begun by his father, and the company formerly known as McPherson Architectural Services has built thousands of houses, churches, hotels and other buildings over the decades.
“Dad started by himself,” Pyle said. “The first house, he built on his own. It’s still down on south Chestnut.”
Pyle’s father took him to job sites, letting him see what went in to the construction of a building. When he was working on the United Methodist Church in Macksville, a very young Pyle went along.
“My dad had me out there one day,” Pyle recalled. “I can still see everything. He handed me a board and marked it.”
Instructed to cut the board at the mark, Pyle determinedly sawed away until it was cut in two. His father then took the piece and nailed it up.
“He put it in there and I went, ‘oh, gosh – I’m part of this building!’ And so he brainwashed me pretty good,” Pyle laughed.
As Pyle grew older, he was given the tasks of sorting nails and sweeping the yard at his father’s shop.
“During the summers, we would work out with the crew,” Pyle said. “I learned to lay brick and block. I did work with the plumbers, electricians and framers, whatever needed to be done. I was a gofer, you started out at the bottom.”
In McPherson, Warren Place, One Main Place Plaza and the Red Coach Inn have all been designed, built or renovated by E. Tom Pyle Jr. & Associates, P.A., which also has more than 550 churches in Kansas and Oklahoma to its credit.
For more information about E. Tom Pyle Jr. & Associates, P.A. and Pyle Construction, visit http:/ /www.pyledesignbuild.com.