After eight years of planning, countless community consultations and $24 million in strategic financing, the Songhees Wellness Centre will open officially Wednesday with a ceremony honouring everyone involved. "Our people wanted something to call their own, a gathering space, but it's become more than that," said Chief Ron Sam, in the office wing of the new building that overlooks a stunning seaside panorama. He said the centre encompasses wellness: physical, cultural, spiritual and financial. The centre at 1100 Admirals Rd. brings the band's previously scattered administrative offices together. It features a gymnasium with a stage and state-of-the art sound system that can hold up to 500 people for conferences, sporting and cultural events. There is also an industrial-sized kitchen, fitness centre, gift shop, health clinic, elder club and multiple meeting rooms. "With our limited land space, we decided to go big," Sam said. Community events will be a priority, but the centre's facilities are available to rent and will be used to generate income, boost the surrounding economies and provide a meeting space for other First Nations to come together.