For 70 years old, Long Lots looks pretty good. The elementary school on Hyde Lane is not Westport\u2019s oldest. In fact, it\u2019s the newest of our five. Kings Highway, Saugatuck and Greens Farms are all at least 30 years older. Coleytown is a contemporary. But the first three have all had major upgrades. Long Lots has been tweaked over the years. Until now though, it hasn\u2019t gotten much attention. And certainly, very little love. Long Lots was built in the 1950s, as a junior high school. In those frenzied post-war years, young families poured into town. The one junior high \u2013 Bedford (now Kings Highway) \u2013 sat clear across town. The new school in the east end of Westport was built quickly (and cheaply). There was no auditorium; a stage at the end of the gym served that purpose. The football field shared the baseball outfield. The school\u2019s one notable feature was a large mural, hanging on the side of the gym. But what it lacked architecturally, it made up for academically and in spirit. Principals Bob Lane, Joe Koeller and Dan Sullivan assembled stellar staffs. I was a student there in the 1960s (and, ahem, student body president. Part of my platform was getting a new auditorium. I failed miserably.)\u00a0I was challenged by some of the best teachers I ever had. I made lifelong friends. And even though our soccer team had to play home games at Greens Farms Elementary (our practice field was a patch of grass out back), we didn\u2019t care. Long Lots was our home, at a time in our lives when feeling supported and loved was desperately important. Soon after I graduated, new athletic fields were hacked out of the woods on the property\u2019s north end. (The drainage problem of the wetlands there was not addressed, though. It still remains, 50 years later.) One night in 1974, a troubled eighth grader set fire to the school. An entire wing \u2013 constructed, basically, of tin \u2013 burned to the ground. Students spent a year shuttling to nearby St. Luke Church for some classes. A new, better constructed wing took its place. An auditorium was added too. It\u2019s big and beautiful \u2013 and seldom used. That\u2019s because, in 1983, Westport made a major educational shift. Ninth graders moved up to Staples. The high school\u2019s population had dropped to just 900, so there was plenty of space. The three seventh through ninth grade junior highs \u2013 Long Lots, Coleytown and Bedford \u2013 became middle schools. Originally housing grades five through eight (now six through eight), they shifted pedagogical focus. They were no longer \u201cjunior\u201d high schools; now they were more akin, educationally speaking, to elementary schools. (Among the big changes: the elimination of interscholastic sports teams.) A few years later, Bedford Middle School moved from Riverside Avenue to a sparkling new home adjacent to Staples. After major renovation, the old Bedford became the new Saugatuck El. (The old Saugatuck Elementary on Bridge Street was converted to elderly housing. It\u2019s complicated, I know.) Around that time, Long Lots transitioned to an elementary school. Some modifications were done. But it retained the bones of a junior high school.Now \u2013 seven decades after it opened \u2013 the building shows it age. Between always-evolving educational ideas at the elementary level, the need for new technologies, and the fact that the original facility was constructed cheaply, educators and engineers have determined that something must be done. It\u2019s still not certain what that means. A building committee (including Don O\u2019Day, the former Board of Education chair who recently led the very successful renovation of mold-ridden Coleytown Middle School into a sparkling new facility) is exploring whether to renovate, or build an entirely new structure. Westport\u2019s first \u201cnew\u201d school since Staples High in 2005 is an exciting prospect. It will be the first to consider green technology, and the first to grapple with post-COVID ventilation questions. There are logistical issues too. If the decision is made to renovate, where will students go during construction? If a new school is built: where will it be? The lower athletic fields pose wetland issues (and nearby neighbors are sure to howl). Usurping the Community Gardens to the south \u2014 where 100 people have devoted years of effort \u2014 would provoke a major battle too. Cost is one more consideration. The bill is likely to dwarf Staples\u2019 $74 million price tag of the early 2000s. And this is not Westport\u2019s only major project. Downtown and Longshore improvements are in the pipeline too. The process has just begun. But \u2013 as a Long Lots graduate, who missed out on the auditorium but loves the current one \u2013 I have one thought. If there is any way to keep that part of the school, let\u2019s do \u00a0it. It\u2019s one of the most underutilized, and best-kept, secrets in town. Dan Woog is a Westport writer, and his \u201cWoog's World\u201d appears each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com. His personal blog is danwoog06880.com.