History of Pearl C. Anderson Middle School

3400 Garden Lane is home to the historic Pearl C. Anderson Middle School Learning Center. The school opened in 1963 and was named for Pearl C. Anderson as a tribute to her life of service to the citizens of Dallas. Pearl C. Anderson was an influential civic leader and philanthropist, known for many charitable endeavors, including her 1955 donation of a significant Downtown Dallas property to the Community Chest Trust Fund (now the Communities Foundation of Texas) which was the organization’s first major gift. DISD named the school for Pearl C. Anderson while she was still living – a rare honor.

The school closed in 2014 and remained abandoned until its purchase by Watermark South Dallas in 2019.


  • In 2019, DISD placed the 190,000+ square foot property and the surrounding 9.8 acres up for sale via public auction, along with two other shuttered schools.
  • On August 21, 2019, DISD held a public hearing and formally approved the sale of the property to Watermark in its “as is” condition.
  • From 2019 to 2020, over 70 cubic tons of debris were removed from the building followed by significant environmental abatement (asbestos removal), roof and window replacement, installation of new mechanical systems (plumbing, electrical and HVAC), and substantial structural renovations to enable the building to be used.
  • Phase 1 was completed in the summer of 2021, with approximately 24,000 square feet finished out (the original cafeteria, some classrooms, courtyard, and adjacent seating area), and Watermark South Dallas received its certificate of occupancy in June of 2021.
  • Simultaneous with the purchase and initial renovations, a small group began to regularly meet together for the purposes of praying, worshipping, and asking what the Lord might have for His church around this location. Learn more about our local church services.
  • Watermark South Dallas held our first gathering as a local church body on June 19, 2021. Shortly thereafter, The Watermark Community Development Corporation and Watermark Health Mobile Clinic began operations out of the South Dallas Campus. Learn more about our ministry partners and the services they provide.

What's Happening Now

Watermark South Dallas is a local church as well as a collaborative ministry hub. Our vision is to thoughtfully and prayerfully join with existing churches, non-profits, and local leaders to meet the emotional, physical, and spiritual needs of the community. Besides amplifying the services that are already available, we desire to work together to develop creative solutions and empower the residents of South Dallas to improve their community.

The strategy is to bring many of these services under one roof, making them more accessible to the South Dallas community, while also providing space for community gatherings, sports fields and gyms, and other services for community use. We currently provide a host of community services weekly:

  • Access to ball fields for youth football and rugby.
  • Access to interior seating areas and outdoor courtyard as well as use of Wi-Fi.
  • Financial literacy, job connection, incentivized savings, and coaching for South Dallas entrepreneurs through Watermark Community Development Corporation.
  • Urgent health care services through Watermark Health.

We are requesting new zoning so that we can expand the range and scope of community services. We have been gathering input from the community on several new potential initiatives, including:

  • Youth sports and development (ball fields, gyms, summer camps, etc.)
  • A permanent urgent care clinic
  • Vocational training and job placement services
  • Food solution
  • Financial literacy, services, and support for South Dallas business owners
  • Commercial kitchen (“ghost kitchen”) to facilitate culinary arts training and support local entrepreneurs
  • Fine arts/theater
  • Retail businesses/employers on-site

If you have other specific ideas for how Watermark South Dallas could serve the community, we want to hear from you! Please email us at

Zoning Information

Overview: In order to adapt the building for additional uses, Watermark South Dallas is in the process of requesting rezoning. The request is to change the zoning from PD 595 R-5 and NC (E) to a WMU-5 Walkable Mixed Use.

Project Updates: A zoning change request was filed on July 12, 2022. Notification signs were posted on July 13, 2022.

Neighborhood/Community Meetings
Local Pastors Meeting: May 16, 2022
Meeting with Homeowners Association: April 30, 2022

All Community/Open House Meetings:
June 16, 2022
July 23, 2022
September 14, 2022
November 7, 2022
January 12, 2023
February 27, 2023
March 20, 2023

People to Know
Owner/Applicant: Watermark South Dallas
South Dallas Campus Pastor: Marvin Walker
Zoning Consultant: Karl Crawley, MasterPlan
District 7 City Plan Commissioner: Tabitha Wheeler-Reagan
District 7 City Councilperson: Adam Bazaldua