After a musical introduction by Porterville High School’s Monache Choir and Band Wednesday morning, County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux introduced several speakers and made a few comments himself regarding a south Tulare County project long in the making.
“There are a lot of bad guys that need to be sitting in the facility right behind us,” began Boudreaux. “But we are mainly focused on rehabilitation. The key goal is individuals entering our doors once, and not twice. It is very important that our inmates learn skills while they are with us.”
Supervisor of Tulare County’s District 5 and real estate business owner Dennis Townsend added, “This has been a full decade in the making. Many involved have since retired and passed away and we wish to honor their selflessness. This is a much needed facility for public safety. Our officers will have more time to respond to calls and this new facility is a testament to the commitment of everyone involved.”
Porterville mayor Martha A. Flores and the Chairman of Board and State Community Corrections Linda Penner also spoke to the crowd: “Facilities like this make a difference,” said Penner. “They hold individuals accountable and help them better themselves.”
The new $72 million, 100,000 square-foot South County Detention Center is the first built in Tulare County since the Adult Pre-Trial Facility built in 1999 and the only detention center built south of Visalia in Tulare County. The new facility is located near Scranton Avenue and Newcomb Street, close to the Porterville Municipal Airport and Sports Complex.
The project began in 2012 when Tulare County received notification from the state that it was competitively selected to receive funding. Construction was completed this year after the state Fire Marshall approved and granted occupancy June 14.
Over the past few years, after the groundbreaking on June 8, 2016, Tulare County and the City of Porterville have worked with several local and state agencies and companies in earnest to reach their goal. The DLR Group was the architect, Bernards Bros were the general contractors, and Vanir Construction Managers oversaw the construction.
The building has a kitchen, bakery, laundry room, medical center, administration center and visitation center.
Most importantly, the new facility uses a modern housing pod design with four units branching off of one control panel and 172 cameras intended to protect inmates and officers alike.
“This will help our officers save time and money,” said District 3 Supervisor Amy Shuklian. “This facility not only offers top-notch medical care but also allows our officers to spend time responding to those in need rather than transporting suspects north to Visalia.”