By Joe Nelson, The Sun
Posted: 02/06/14, 8:16 PM PST |

ADELANTO >> Hundreds of rank and file from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and officials from across the county gathered at the High Desert Detention Center on Thursday to celebrate the opening of the expanded jail.

Three years in the making, the $145.4 million project added 1,392 new beds and increased the jail’s footprint by 297,000 square feet to over 8 acres. It includes new medical and dental facilities that eliminate the need for deputies to transport inmates to West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga for those services. In addition, the news beds will help relieve jail overcrowding brought about by the realignment of state prisoners.

“We’ve constructed a facility that is truly state of the art,” Sheriff John McMahon said during Thursday’s event, where a tour of the jail’s expanded wing followed. “This is a great opportunity for us to keep moving forward in the corrections business.”

A special coating on the walls in the jail’s intake and medical areas reduces the spread of infectious diseases such as staph infections, which are common in jails, prisons, and other communal living facilities.

Not having to drive prisoners to Rancho Cucamonga from the High Desert allows deputies to get back to their patrol duties faster after booking them in Adelanto.

County Supervisor Robert Lovingood, whose district includes the bulk of the High Desert, said the new and improved jail will save deputies in the High Desert up to three hours by not having to take their detainees into Rancho Cucamonga.

“That’s efficiency. That’s more sheriff’s (deputies) on the streets, and that’s what we have to work to achieve,” Lovingood said.

The jail’s expanded wing will open in three phases, as the Sheriff’s Department’s budget allows for staffing of the facility. The first phase will see 222 beds filled within the next couple weeks, and the inmates who get those beds will be those whose cases are being heard in High Desert courtrooms.

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