The RM45.5 million building was built under the 9th Malaysia Plan's Education Development Projects and was due for completion in 2011.
However, contractors were forced to delay the hand-over by almost three years due to several technical problems.
Education Department Director Datuk Jame Alip in his keynote address during the hand-over ceremony, said while the delay was unavoidable at the time, future projects under the department will need to be monitored more closely especially when dealing with other infrastructure providers to prevent the same problem happening again.
"It is mind-boggling that some people needed more than a year to solve a problem, and the contractor was kept waiting. Even our Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman does not like delays.
"Rules are man-made and if there is a need to break the rules for the common good, it is better to do it. We must learn from experience especially with abandoned school projects," he said.
Jame also said that while education is an important vehicle capable of propelling the country into a developed nation, it is an undeniable fact that Sabah is still behind in terms of school infrastructure compared to other states in Peninsular Malaysia.
"Nine states in the peninsula are equal to one Sabah, Putrajaya must understand this. Sabah must not be seen as equal, it must be a bit more than that. If in the peninsula they receive RM10 million, here the equivalent is RM50 million," he said.
Similarly, he added, educational excellence is not driven merely by the quality of human resource development and good management but also supported by sufficient and conducive infrastructure.
Therefore, he hoped that the new administrative building could improve both the department's effectiveness and its delivery system.
The 10-storey building, situated on Jalan Kompleks Sukan Likas, will accommodate 249 department staff and has ample parking space, a surau, a cafeteria and five meeting rooms.
Jame advised department staff to keep the building clean and give written reports on any problem to the department's Development Unit especially during the defect liability period which would end on March 5 next year to be forwarded to the contractor and architect.
Also present during the ceremony was the Education Ministry's Education Development Unit Senior Deputy Secretary Abdul Aziz Asha'ari who presented the key to the building to Jame.