COLUMBIA — The School of Metaphysics has raised more than $100,000 in its quest to collect 1,000 rings and raise $1 million for building its new headquarters in Windyville, in southwest Missouri.
Since September, the school has collected dozens of rings across its campuses, including from those in Columbia, Springfield and Maplewood. The school plans to auction the rings once it has met its 1,000-ring goal, according to a news release from the school.
Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Prize acceptance speech, the school decided to name the new headquarters "The Great World House," the release said. The school plans to break ground on the project during the summer of 2012, with one-third of the fundraising completed by that time.
As a result of the time crunch, project coordinator Paul Madar said the school is working diligently to raise funds.
"We started by reaching out to people in the community, friends, family, former students and current students," Madar said. "We will be fundraising for many years."
The ring fundraiser is only one way the school is raising funds, Madar said.
"We also are applying for grants, endowments and other traditional forms of fundraising," he said.
The new headquarters will be ring-shaped with a monolithic dome and circular floor patterns and windows. The monolithic dome was chosen because of its high-energy efficiency and strategic use of resources, according to the release.
A firm from Italy, Texas, the Monolithic Dome Institute, which has worked with the School of Metaphysics on other construction projects, will design the headquarters while the school continues to raise funds.
The school chose the ring-shaped design because of its symbolism.
"I had a vision of rings and their symbolism — the commitment to each other, the commitment to the self," Madar said. "There was one point where I was talking to the executive director of the school, Barbara Condron, and we put our heads together and came up with the ring idea."
The idea for the new headquarters began when the additions and expansions made to the building in the past no longer met the school's needs.
The new headquarters will include a dining facility that accommodates 250 to 300 people. The school's previous facility held only about 100 people.
Additionally, the new headquarters will include meeting spaces, bigger classrooms, space for residents and guest quarters for visitors, including visiting lecturers.
Madar said supporters can either bring rings to their local campuses or mail them to the School of Metaphysics' headquarters, 163 Moon Valley Road, Windyville, MO 65783. Supporters can also donate to the project by contacting the school.