CAMERON - At last.
After years of planning, and what seemed like more years of waiting, athletes at Cameron High School will move into their new digs this week.
But before the first game is played in the new gym at the new school which opened recently, the school and community will celebrate the memories made in the old one.
Although saying farewell to the old gymnasium is difficult, the Cameron Dragons are much looking forward to playing in their brand new arena (above).
That will take place tonight when the Dragons welcome Paden City for a girls/boys doubleheader set to tipoff at 6 p.m.
The night will also serve as Senior Night for both teams.
''It's going to be different, just like moving to the new school was,'' Cameron girls' coach Roger Cain, a former Dragon, said. ''I played every game of my career (in the old gym) there, but I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play in a state-of-the-art arena.''
One of Cain's assistants, Amanda Allison, is also a former Cameron great, while his other assistant, Mark Witzberger, is a longtime Cameron coach.
Boys' assistant coach Tom Hart is also a graduate.
All will be on hand as all former Dragons have been invited back to take part in special festivities.
A Facebook page has even been created entitled Last Game at Old CHC Gymnasium. There, group members will find pictures and anecdotes about games and moments that occurred in the facility.
Everyone is also asked to return Friday night, at the new gym, where the Dragons boys will christen the new facility with a game in the Hometown Invitational Tournament.
''It's kind of bittersweet because before we had the school right in town and now it's outside of town,'' Cain said. ''But we're lucky to have a state-of-the-art school.''
And what a facility it is, especially the athletic facilities.
''There's no describing what we're able to have,'' Cain said, who said he was absolutely stunned when he first saw it. ''A lot of college teams don't have what we have.
''It reminds me a lot of West Liberty (the school's ASRC) with the track that runs around the layout. And, we've never had the option for extra baskets, either. Now, we're looking at dividing the floor so we can have two floors side by side.''
Speaking of the court, it's regulation size.
''That will be a huge adjustment for us,'' Cain said. ''We're used to playing on the small confines of our old gym and now we're looking at a court that's 94 feet, about 20 feet more than we currently use.''
The new gym has all of the state-of-the-art amenities like lighting, scoreboard, message boards, bleachers and the like. There's also a weight training area above the court adjacent to the track which will soon be available for public use, Cain said.
''We're really hoping the opening will be a boost to both the girls' and boys' programs,'' Cain said. ''Having a state-of-the-art gym really makes a difference.
''We've been looking forward to getting in there for a long time.''