Herk Bouris Elementary School Will Honor Legacy of Pioneering Menifee Farmer

Construction is almost complete on Herk Bouris Elementary. In the late 1980s, when Lusk and Compan...

Construction is almost complete on Herk Bouris Elementary.

In the late 1980s, when Lusk and Company General Contractors was developing the Menifee Lakes community, a suggestion was made to name the new park at the corner of Menifee Road and La Piedra Road after prominent local resident Herk Bouris.

Bouris, one of the pioneering farmers of Menifee Valley, politely declined.

"Herk said, 'When I've been dead and gone 10 years, maybe you can do it then -- if anyone remembers me,' " recalled Herk's widow, Betty Bouris.

Herk was then asked what he knew about the land upon which the park had been constructed.

"I used to farm it. It was a wheat field," he said about what was eventually named Wheatfield Park.

It hasn't quite been 10 years since Herk Bouris' death in 2004, but local officials won't wait any longer to honor his legacy. And no, the people around here certainly have not forgotten who Bouris is and what he meant to the Menifee community.

In August, Herk Bouris Elementary School will open on the west edge of the Menifee Unified School District. Almost completed on a site on Canyon Hills Drive -- the western extension of Holland Road -- the school will serve more than 500 students in grades K-5.

Midge James, who will move over from Ridgemoor Elementary to become the first principal at Herk Bouris, headed a committee of 20 people from the community who voted on a name for the school. Following school board policy requiring the name to represent a "pioneer of sorts" in the area or a geographical attribute of the surroundings, the committee chose the name Herk Bouris Elementary.