The Lodi Unified School District has spent approximately $39,000 to buy new chairs that fit requirements by the city to use the Grape Bowl.

“This was made necessary because of the synthetic field turf at the stadium,” Assistant Superintendent Art Hand said.

The city, which owns the facility, said no post-type chair legs will be allowed for any event, including this month’s high school graduations. The district had to purchase 700 new chairs with continuous runner supports, which create a rounded edge and displace the weight across a bigger surface to guard against damaging the new ground covering.

The district and the city have discussed the district renting its chairs out to the city for other Grape Bowl events, but no final agreement has been developed, Hand said.

Additionally, parents and other guests cannot greet graduates on the field at the end of the ceremony, and students are prohibited from wearing heels, eating sunflower seeds or chewing gum at this month’s graduations at the Grape Bowl.

Ceremonies for Lodi and Tokay are the only ones affected, as the district’s other high school graduations are held at either Hutchins Street Square or University of the Pacific.

The city installed the turf last fall as part of a $3 million renovation project.

Workers also removed a significant section of bleacher seating at the northwest end of the stadium, forcing schools to limit the number of guest tickets students will receive.

Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at jenniferb@lodinews.com.

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