The University of Charleston will cut the ribbon to open its new Welch Athletic Complex at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, but the festivities don’t start there.

Area youth will get the first chance to run on the brand new artificial turf where Triana Field formerly stood. As part of the celebration of the new complex, UC’s baseball, soccer and lacrosse teams will hold free clinics for children prior to the opening ceremony.

It’s all part of an entire evening to welcome the $5 million facility to the Charleston community. The complex is named for former UC President Ed Welch, who retired from that position in 2018.

The site will remain the home of the Golden Eagles baseball team and becomes the new home for the men’s and women’s soccer and women’s lacrosse teams after enlarging the former Triana Field. The artificial turf fields will be surrounded by new bleachers and concession stands, along with locker rooms and a new scoreboard. Lighting will improve to 90-foot poles with LED lights that can be controlled via tablet.

Elliot Field will be home to the soccer and lacrosse teams, while SEGRA Field will be home to the baseball team. Around 170 athletes in four sports will practice and compete there.

Following the youth clinics from 5:30-6:30 p.m., the university will begin the opening ceremony and ribbon cutting from 6:45-7:15 p.m. A picnic will be held from 7:15-8:30 p.m. while the facility’s first official competition kicks off. The UC men’s developmental soccer team hosts Pikeville at 7:30 p.m.

The university broke ground on the site at the end of April and renovations began soon afterward.