Hey there cmspb,
It sounds like you are getting an error message when setting up the iPad that the activation server cannot be reached. I found this article to help you troubleshoot that named:
iPhone: Troubleshooting activation issues
- Restart the iPhone.
- Try another means of reaching the activation server and attempt to activate.
- Try connecting to a known-good Wi-Fi network if you're unable to activate using a cellular data connection.
- Try connecting to iTunes if you're unable to activate using Wi-Fi.
- Restore the iPhone.
If you receive an alert message when you attempt to activate your iPhone, try to place the iPhone in recovery mode and perform a restore. If you're still unable to complete the setup assistant due to an activation error, contact Apple for assistance.
Although the title of the article mentions the iPhone, the troubleshootnig steps are relevant for the iPad as well.
Thank you for using Apple Support Communities.
All the best,