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Loyalist athletics to get new, more sophisticated website

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Kurstyn Brant (right) during Algonquin Thunders versus Loyalist Lancers basketball game in 2016. Photos like this will be featured on the new atheletics department’s website. Photo by Loyalist Lancers.

By Cody Starr [2]

BELLEVILLE – Loyalist athletics [3] website will be in for a big change as PrestoSports [4] creates new and innovative presence online.

PrestoSports is an American-based company that exclusively serves the post-secondary market of athletic website design, having created many professional websites for both Canadian and American schools.

The current Lancer’s athletic website is three-years-old. It was made at the college with the help from the Loyalist IT department.

Cory Mestre, the coordinator of fitness facilities and campus recreation, said Tuesday the limited budget and resources the last time meant there were none of the bells and whistles on the current page.

“They really worked hard at creating something that would meet our needs. It has been a good stop-gap but…there are limitations to what we can do with the website,” he said.

Mestre says an update is needed to keep the college relevant when attracting students.

“In order to stay current and competitive in the market and in trying to keep ourselves on par, it’s important to take every step we can to stay competitive in the eyes of prospective students. As well as to provide the services that I believe our own students expect of us,” said Mestre.

One of the key features the athletics department wants is the ability for their new site to be able to integrate with the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association [5] website (another creation of PrestoSports) to automatically post game scores, players statistics and a host of other important information from governing body for athletics and varsity sports in the province. Previously, it had all been manually done, Mestre said.

“The PrestoSports platform gives us the capability to do that with much greater ease than what we have now. Being able to do things like integrated and interactive calendars for students who are looking for information about future events, future activities and programming, again something we can do with much more ease on a platform like PrestoSports than what we have now,” he said.

Another feature Mestre says they are looking forward to is the ability to post a news story about a varsity game or an outdoor trip and have it instantly go to their social media.

PrestoSports is not the only company however that caters to this specific market. The college considered other options but ultimately chose to go with PrestoSports.

Sidearm is another American-based company that does virtually the same thing as PrestoSports, he said.

“Over the years we’ve looked at options and the two names that came up overwhelmingly were PrestoSports and Sidearm, two companies from the states that specialize in web-based platforms for athletic institutions. Several years ago, I would say Sidearm was the better of the two, with Presto having a long way to come to catch up to that. Presto has met or exceeded the same level of what they can do to the point now that I really do like Presto more.” 

The new website is planned to be ready for content by June but its full launch may not be until the start of the next academic year in September.

The website will cost $2,500 per year from the athletics budget as part of a three-year contract with PrestoSports, said Athletics Director Jim Buck.

 “The hope is that it will improve our branding and our messaging. That it will help students find the information that they are seeking as it relates to all things athletics, whether that’s varsity information or campus recreation or fitness facilities,” Mestre said.