Jaime Brand, left, and Haskell Assistant Superintendent Jeff Windsor pose inside the former Joyland Country Music Nightclub with the sign that became an anniversary gift for his parents.

October 27, 2022

Former Dance Hall Goes to Good Causes, Makes Way for New ER

Once home to performances by some of country music's biggest names, the former Joyland property now will serve the community's medical needs.

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People use that Contact Us link up at the top of the Haskell.com website for all sorts of reasons, but as far as anyone knows, Jaime Bland is the only person who has ever used it to get his parents an anniversary present.

Let’s set the scene: As part of its ongoing partnership with Universal Health Services (UHS) to build free-standing emergency departments (FSED) across the country, Haskell has its signs hanging on the fence surrounding the active construction site in Bradenton, Florida, that, when finished, will be the ER at Bayshore Gardens.

A popular nightspot for decades, Joyland was disassembled and many of the materials reused.

For decades, that property, at 5520 14th Street West in Bradenton, was home to Joyland Country Music Nightclub, a 15,000-square-foot concert and dance venue that was one of Southwest Florida’s most popular nightspots. Over the years, it was host to many of country music’s biggest names, including Florida Georgia Line, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Trace Adkins, and many more.

Like all bars and nightclubs, Joyland was forced to close during COVID, and when the lockdown ended, it reopened in a new location a few miles south in Sarasota. That left the property available to become a new UHS site.

And, with Haskell’s help, it left a souvenir available for Bland’s parents.

“My name is Jaime and I am wondering about a job site in Bradenton Florida with Haskell signs on it undergoing construction,” he wrote in the Haskell.com contact form. “The site is under heavy construction and contains an old popular bar that my parents met at decades ago before the property was sold. I was wondering if there was a way I could get these signs from the property before the building is torn down or renamed for their anniversary to put up at their outdoor entertainment area at their home. Please let me know, or point me in the right direction of the right person to call about this, it would mean a lot.”

Digital Marketing Manager Elisabeth Pancoast, the administrator of Haskell.com, forwarded the request to Hunter Wilhelm, Assistant Project Manager on the ER at Bayshore Gardens. Wilhelm contacted Bland and arranged the handoff.

“When I saw the email come through, I thought it was just the craziest thing I’d ever seen,” Wilhelm said. “But then again, there have been a bunch of people stopping by and saying, ‘I used to come here all the time, and it was such a good time.’ When he came to pick it up, he was telling me that he and his friends, as soon as they could get in, they were coming here every weekend.”

Universal Health Services (UHS), a Fortune 500 company that offers hospital and healthcare services throughout the United States, has partnered with Haskell and Bessemer, Alabama-based BLOX to leverage the nascent project delivery method called design, manufacture, construct (DMC) to meet its need for speed to market.

Haskell in 2019 made a strategic investment in BLOX, which produces large and intricate modules for the healthcare industry that become the clinic’s operating rooms, emergency rooms and more. As the arrangement has evolved, Haskell has taken on the role of general contractor in the UHS program, bringing to bear its expertise as an integrated design pioneer to streamline the onsite work.

Passing along the Joyland sign was just one way the iconic former music venue would live on. Riley Yeaman, Director of Project Development, said that rather than tear down the structure, Haskell team members meticulously disassembled it to be repurposed.

“They're going to redirect it to be used for a church-slash-gym in a neighboring community,” Yeaman said. “The building itself has gotten a lot of attention. It was a staple in the community from what I can tell. I think the fact that it was the Joyland bar probably brought attention to the opportunity and someone saying, ‘Hey, I'd like to repurpose that.’ So, it's been it's been good all the way around.”

Having interned with BLOX while attending Auburn and joined Haskell upon graduation, Wilhelm had worked on several UHS FSED projects. He said constructing on the grounds of a former country music dance hall has been unique for a number of reasons.

Rather than working out of construction trailers and storing materials in cargo containers, the crew used the Joyland structure as its base of operations.

“It is odd; it’s very odd,” he said. “But it's also probably one of the cooler things I've done since I’ve been working for Haskell. I mean, I'm sitting in a bar where Toby Keith played on the stage that’s 50 feet from me. It’s just crazy. Everybody's adapted. There are a couple of different bars in here, and they’ve adapted them into a working space and storage space. On these jobs, we get a bunch of materials from BLOX, who manufactures the components, so we're using the dance floor as a storage area. We joked with UHS they need to start looking for properties with bars on them, because it's been great for us.”

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