Riverside County supervisors Tuesday authorized bidding to begin for the first stage of work on the East County Detention Center in Indio.
The Clerk of the Board will be advertising the project to prospective contractors in the coming weeks.
According to Economic Development Agency documents, the first part of the project will entail demolishing the County Administrative Center building off of Oasis Street and Highway 111 and clearing the site for construction of the detention center.
The existing Indio Jail will remain fully operational during the demolition and site preparation, according to the EDA.
A groundbreaking date for the ECDC has not been settled. The facility will house roughly 1,250 inmates once completed, netting the county an additional 900 inmate beds over its current stock.
According to the sheriff's department, the county will need up to 4,000 more jail beds by 2020 just to keep pace with the area population growth and consequent increasing demands on correctional space.
In 2012, the sheriff released 7,000 inmates early for lack of space.
The county has just under 4,000 beds now.
The ECDC is among the county's top capital improvement priorities. Its construction was made possible, in part, by a $100 million state grant awarded to the county last year to help offset jail overcrowding. The county is covering 60 percent of the project budget.
Plans are also afoot to expand the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning and the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.