ILION, N.Y. -- After years of cutting, the Ilion and Mohawk Districts took the plunge and merged into the Central Valley Central School District.
On the eve of their first day, Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra said, "It's a good feeling, never having been in a position where I've started school with greater opportunities than I had the previous year."
Tangorra said for the first time in his memory, his teachers are fired up because the new district can add courses like a business class and full-day drivers' ed.
"The high school principal said that she's never been more excited for an opening day," he said.
The buildup hasn't been without hurdles.
"We had the flood in June and the capital projects that were going on, so our maintenance guys did just a great job getting ready for today and tomorrow," Tangorra explained.
Both districts are finishing capital projects that make these buildings look brand new. The new Central Valley Academy library is iconic of their position. It features a restored basketball floor from the days when this was a gym, mixing bits of the old to make something new. As they're building this new school, they're also building something else: An athletic identity, called the Central Valley Thunder.
"So we're trying to build a whole new culture," Tangorra said. "A culture that embraces the future that is focused on excellence that certainly fondly remembers the past traditions and the wonderful things that those former school districts did."
"But at the same time, there's an excitement about building new traditions and a new pathway," he continued.
Tangorra said he hopes to add more opportunities as they move along that pathway.
The school district will celebrate their opening with a ceremony Thursday morning at 8 a.m.