ual interactions with an informed community affords an institution the best opportunity for long-term good-neighbor relations. Adversarial interactions may occur and some opposition groups may never be satisfied, but negative reactions to new laboratory construction often reflect a basic failure by the institution to engage and inform the community in the first place. Resources and mechanisms for beneficial engagement and information exchange are suggested below.
The advice of community relations and public relations offices should be sought by a renovation or construction project's leaders early in the project, and these offices should remain involved throughout. In many situations one of them may be the institution's lead unit in responding to the community, and some institutions may want to formally designate the lead unit. For sensitive projects, it may also be advisable to provide media relations training to the project leader.
The community may establish an advisory board, consisting of respected community participants, to take part in the institution's planning process by meeting with high-level institutional representatives. Such a board can, for instance, express community responses to proposed institutional plans and changes in them.
The institution can use its staff to gain insight into community concerns about the proposed facility project, especially if some staff members share those concerns. An in-house advisory board is one possibility. Another is the use of staff members who are established, respected members of existing community organizations as liaisons to such groups.
If the institution's community relations and public relations offices lack resources, laboratory construction is new to the institution, or community sensitivity is expected, the institution should consider hiring a consulting firm specializing in community involvement and/or environmental impacts. Such professionals are experienced in recognizing potential sources of opposition and recommending responses. For a small fraction of the design costs, the institution can substantially reduce the chances of unfortunate incidents. Community rela-