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SOLEDAD-California’s newest state prison was formally dedicated today during a ceremony here attended by state and local officials and community leaders.

Salinas Valley State Prison is the state’s 32nd prison and the latest to be built as part of a major prison construction program begun in the mid-1980s. The facility opened in May 1996 and already houses 2,696 inmates, most of them maximum security.

The prison cost $236 million to build and operates on a $60 million annual budget.

Local officials attending today’s ceremony included supervisors from Monterey County and mayors from a number of cities in the county’s agriculture-rich Salinas Valley. They noted the prison’s economic contribution to the surrounding communities including the addition of 928 jobs.

“We appreciate the positive support we continue to receive from Monterey County and our neighbors here in the Salinas Valley,” said James H. Gomez, Di rec tor of the California Department of Corrections. “We are fortunate to be a part of this economic community.”

The new institution is adjacent to the California Training Facility, a prison in operation since the 1940s. Salinas Valley State Prison operates an extensive vo ca tion al training program and provides a number of educational programs from pre-literacy through high school diploma.

Completion of Salinas Valley State Prison leaves only one remaining major state prison still under construction-the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran. It is scheduled to open next year.