Trinity Washington University, a Catholic women’s school, announced Thursday it plans to build a new $40 million academic center with science and health laboratories and classrooms on its campus in Northeast Washington. Construction on the school’s first new academic facility in a half century is expected to begin in summer 2014.

A $10 million gift from Trinity graduate Joan Payden, described as the largest in the school’s history, will help fund the project. Trinity President Patricia McGuire said in a news release that the university will be “at long last able to modernize our core laboratories and instructional spaces for 21st century teaching and learning.”