Former Norton Air Force Base (BRAC 1988)

Former Norton Air Force Base (BRAC 1988)

Location: San Bernardino, California
Total Acreage: 2,221 Acres
Closed: March 1994


The former Norton Air Force Base, located two miles east of downtown San Bernardino, California, got its start in 1941 as a municipal airport under U.S. Army jurisdiction. Pilots trained there and, almost immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, fighter planes were stationed there in case they might be needed to protect the Los Angeles area from enemy attack. In 1942, its name was changed to the San Bernardino Army Airfield. The San Bernardino Air Depot was established there for repair and maintenance of aircraft. Later it would be used to repair gas turbine engines and, later still, jet engines. At the end of World War II, the base became a processing and separation center for millions of servicemen being discharged. Read more history here.

Environmental Activities
The Air Force's successful cleanup of environmental contamination at the former Norton Air Force Base began decades ago and essentially ended last year. The Air Force initiated the Installation Restoration Program (IRP) at Norton Air Force Base in 1982, long before the base closed. During the 1980s, Air Force investigations determined where chemical waste disposal activities had occurred and where the groundwater contained detectable levels of solvents, primarily trichloroethene (TCE), which was used at Norton for cleaning aircraft parts from the 1940s through the 1980s. Read more about cleanup activities here.

Property Transfer
The former Norton Air Force Base, now known as San Bernardino International Airport, has been transformed into a flourishing business complex where huge modern buildings have replaced military structures. Several thousand civilians work at the former 2,221-acre base, arriving daily for jobs in aviation, manufacturing, distribution and logistics.
In 1990, a joint powers authority called the Inland Valley Development Agency (IVDA) was formed to oversee redevelopment of the non-aviation portion of the former Norton Air Force Base. Elected officials from the County of San Bernardino and the Cities of San Bernardino, Colton, Highland and Loma Linda comprise the IVDA, which is responsible for approximately 600 acres on the former base and a redevelopment project area of approximately 13,000 acres of surrounding properties. The land use designations within the project area include light and heavy industrial, office, commercial and residential. The IVDA, which earns revenue from property taxes, funds the airport's construction and operation. Read more here.